Revolution heads to Texas to battle the Houston Dynamo

HOUSTON – The New England Revolution plays its only road game in a six-week span on Saturday night when the club visits the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Kickoff between the Revs (2-4-4, 10 pts.) and Dynamo (6-3-2, 20 pts.) is set for 8:30 p.m. ET with both Comcast SportsNet and 98.5 The Sports Hub carrying the game regionally.

Current Form: Revs move forward after disappointing week; Dynamo coming off rare home loss

Last week the Revs began a stretch in which they play five of six games at home by hosting Real Salt Lake and the New York Red Bulls in a four-day span, but the Revolution was left disappointed with a return of just one point from those two matches. Perhaps most frustrating was that the Revs held second-half leads on both occasions only to see points slip away in the late stages.

“We’re disappointed about the home-stand because (in) both games we scored first and should’ve come away with more,” said head coach Jay Heaps. “Whether it’s two wins, probably not, but (we should have had) at least a win in one of those two matches. It’s disappointing in that regard.

“We learn from it, we use it as some material to get better on. It’s Houston now. We know this week is a huge week preparing for them and we’re excited about the challenge.”

The challenge facing the Revs is in the form of a Dynamo side coming off its first home loss in almost two years. Houston went 36 games unbeaten in all competitions at home between June 18, 2011 and last Sunday, when Sporting KC claimed the full three points with a 1-0 win at BBVA Compass Stadium.

That loss not only snapped Houston’s lengthy home unbeaten run, but also the club’s five-game unbeaten streak in the league. Entering the weekend, Dominic Kinnear’s side sits just one point off the top spot in the Eastern Conference and has the benefit of multiple games in hand over the conference-leading Red Bulls.

Past Meetings: Revs winless in last four meetings with Dynamo

Through 2010, the Revolution dominated the regular-season series with the Dynamo, racking up a 6-1-3 record in the first 10 league meetings. At one point that stretch included four straight wins in the Lone Star State.

But Houston has turned the tables in the past two years, leaving New England winless (0-2-2) in the last four meetings. Both of the Dynamo’s wins during that span have been at home, including a 2-0 win last Sept. 29 in the Revolution’s only previous visit to BBVA Compass Stadium.

Injury Report: Healthy Juan Agudelo hoping to make Revolution debut

Juan Agudelo was held out of last weekend’s meeting with the Red Bulls as a precaution as he fully recovered from a hamstring strain, but the newly-acquired striker could make his Revolution debut on Saturday night after working through a full week of training with no ill effects.

“This is a good week for Juan,” said Heaps. “We’re getting him back to see where he is from a fitness level. He hasn’t played in three weeks from a fitness standpoint, but he’s healthy and he’s moving around. This week will be important to gauge him.”

While Agudelo has been removed from the injury report, both Kelyn Rowe (R calf tightness) and Jose Goncalves (R adductor tightness) are questionable entering the weekend. Goncalves is the only Revolution player to have played every minute this season, while Rowe has appeared in every game and leads the club with three assists.

Houston will be without both Calen Carr (L knee) and Omar Cummings (R knee) on Saturday night. Carr continues to recover from the torn ACL he suffered in last year’s MLS Cup final loss to the LA Galaxy, while injuries have limited Cummings to just 10 minutes of action in his first season in Houston.

Final Thoughts: Away from home, Revs aim to keep the pressure high

“I think a lot of (road) teams tend to sit back and maybe be a little bit relaxed on their pressure defensively in the opening minutes of the game,” said Ryan Guy. “We really concentrate on getting some high pressure on these teams. When you’re at home, you tend to want to be the attacking team. I think we’re trying to flip that on its head a little bit and really try to – through counterattacks and the way we’re playing – get up the pitch quickly and put them under pressure early.”