FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Revolution aims for its third straight home victory when the club hosts the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
Kickoff between the Revs (4-6-0, 12 pts.) and Dynamo (3-3-3, 12 pts.) is set for 7:30 p.m. and the evening will include a “Salute to Heroes” with a series of events and activities to celebrate the region’s military heroes, veterans and their families.
Comcast SportsNet New England will televise the game live in high definition, while the radio call will be handled by 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Current Form: Home success continues to boost Revs; Dynamo fresh off opening new stadium
Gillette Stadium has been the site of three of the Revolution’s four wins this season as the club has made the most of playing in front of the home support. Last weekend the Revs improved their home record to 3-1-0 with a convincing 4-1 win over Vancouver Whitecaps FC – highlighted by a two-goal, one-assist performance from MLS player of the week Lee Nguyen – and they’ll hope to replicate that success against the Dynamo.
“We scored four goals, so any time you get on the board in fours it’s a good thing,” said left back Chris Tierney, whose throw-in teed up Nguyen for his goal-of-the-week-worthy strike in the 72nd minute. “We’re looking to score goals and get ourselves out ahead. We don’t want to play from behind like we did last week.”
Houston soldiered through a brutal stretch of seven straight road games to open the season while awaiting completion of BBVA Compass Stadium, putting together a respectable 2-3-2 record in the process. The long wait to play in front of the home fans finally ended last weekend when the Dynamo christened its new digs with a 1-0 win over D.C. United, before following up with a scoreless draw with the Portland Timbers on Tuesday night.
Past Meetings: MLS Cup and SuperLiga showdowns still highlight Revs-Dynamo series
The regular-season series between New England and Houston has been dominated by the Revolution, which owns a 6-2-4 record in league meetings with the Dynamo. There was a slight shift in the balance of power last year, however, as Houston claimed the season series with a home win and a road draw.
Still, most associate the Revs and Dynamo with a trio of cup final meetings from 2006 to 2008. Houston triumphed over New England in both MLS Cup 2006 and MLS Cup 2007, while the Revs exacted a certain measure of revenge with a victory in the SuperLiga 2008 title match.
Injury Report: Simms out for New England; Guy, Moreno, Rowe all back in the fold
For the first time this season, Clyde Simms will not be in the Revolution’s starting lineup on Saturday night as the defensive midfielder is set to miss out with left ankle tendonitis. Simms started each of New England’s first 10 games this season, his first in Foxborough after spending seven years with D.C. United.
At the other end of the spectrum, the Revs have regained the services of Ryan Guy (four games; R calf stiffness), Jose Moreno (two games; R calf strain) and Kelyn Rowe (one game; L hamstring strain), all of whom have come off the injury report after missing games in recent weeks.
The Dynamo is at the end of a four-games-in-11-days stretch after playing its first two matches at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday and Tuesday, but Dominic Kinnear’s side comes to Gillette Stadium relatively healthy. Houston’s midweek injury report included just three names with second-year defender Kofi Sarkodie (R foot sprain), third-string goalkeeper Erich Marscheider (R shoulder sprain) and rookie midfielder Brian Ownby (L elbow dislocation) all out for this weekend’s match.
Key Player: Revolution midfielder Shalrie Joseph
With Simms sidelined, it could be up to midfield general Shalrie Joseph to set the tempo and serve as the fulcrum in the Revolution’s possession game. Simms’ presence just in front of New England’s back four has afforded Joseph a bit more freedom to roam this season, but he could find himself in more of a holding role on Saturday night against the Dynamo.
“Clyde’s been exceptional for us this year with what he does,” said Tierney. “He plays simple and breaks things up. So if he’s not able to go, obviously someone will have to fill his shoes, but I think we have some good options this year in terms of guys who are athletic and can break things up similar to the way that Clyde does.”
Final Thoughts: Heaps has the Revolution prepared for “a dogfight”
“It’s kind of like clockwork with Houston,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “They’re going to come in and they’re going to fight. They’re going to be a very difficult team to play against as they are every year, no matter when you play them, where you play them, who’s in their lineup and how many games they’ve had. We know that this is going to be a dogfight from the start.”