New England Soccer Today

The Warm Up: #NEvHOU

Photo credit: Houston Dynamo

Who: Revolution (1-2-1, 4 points) vs. Houston Dynamo (3-1-0, 9 points)
What: Week 6 of the MLS regular season
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusetts
When: Saturday, April 8 at 2:00pm ET
Watch: CSN New England, MLS Live, Direct Kick
Whistle: Silviu Petrescu – Head Referee; Gianni Facchini/Craig Lowry – Assistant Referees; Jose Carlos Rivero – 4th Referee.

Scouting the Opposition:

–The Houston Dynamo ended the 2016 season at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, but find themselves one point behind the Timbers for first place, with a game in hand. Houston is tied for second in the MLS with 11 goals scored, while conceding seven times over four games.

-The Dynamo are coached by former Chivas USA player Wilmer Cabrera, who is in his first season with the squad. Cabrera had been coaching the Dynamo’s USL affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley, and was given the job over interim coach Wade Barrett.

-The roster had heavy turnover between the 2016 and 2017 seasons, with forward Will Bruin, midfielder Collen Warner, and defender David Horst leaving the team in the offseason. The team re-loaded with forward Romell Quioto, who has scored three goals, and Panaman defender Adolfo Machado, who has played every minute in each of the squad’s four games.

-Returning for the Dynamo is forward Erick “Cubo” Torres, who has scored six goals through the team’s first four games. Torres made a name for himself with Chivas USA, scoring 22 goals in 44 games while on loan from Guadalajara. After being signed to a designated player contract, Torres split his time between being on loan at Guadalajara and the Dynamo. Torres failed to score in MLS competition for the Dynamo in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, but has started strong this year.

-Anticipate a 4-3-3 from the Dynamo, as this is the only formation they’ve used so far this season. Erick Torres plays up top with Quioto and Albert Elis, another addition for the Dynamo from Monterrey on loan, playing on the sides.

-The midfield will likely consist of veteran Ricardo Clark, Eric Alexander and Alex. Alex has four assists early in the season, after five goals and two assists in 29 appearances last season.

-The defensive unit consists of Machado and Brazilian defender Leonardo as the primary centerbacks, former Galaxy player A.J. DeLaGarza at right back, and a split between U.S. International DeMarcus Beasley and Dylan Remick, a new addition joining Houston from Seattle, splitting time at left back. Remick, who went to school at Brown University, has started the last two games and will be the likely starter Saturday.

-Teal Bunbury on Houston: “I think it’s good that we are able to see how other teams play, but ultimately, it might be a cliché thing, but it’s really about how we play, how we prepare for the game. We’re going to know their tendencies, we’re going to know their key players, but when we’re at home, we love to attack. We love to possess the ball. I think our last game against Minnesota at home just proved that we could score a lot of goals and we can play. It’s going to be a fun match.”

Recent History:

-This is the first match between these two squads in over a year, as the Revolution and Dynamo played their only match last year on opening weekend. The Revolution pulled out a 3-3 draw on the road on Daigo Kobayshi’s extra time equalizer. Diego Fagundez and Charlie Davies also scored.

-Prior to last year’s match, the Revolution boasted a three-game win streak over Houston, including a 2-0 win over the Dynamo the last time the two sides met in Foxboro. That match is memorable for two its two lengthy lightning delays, which forced the game to be completed shortly after midnight.

-The Revs hold the all-time series lead over the Dynamo with 10 wins, 7 ties, and 5 losses. The Revs have outscored the Dynamo 31-25.

3 Things to Know:

1) Along with spring comes decent weather: Saturday’s weather in Foxboro will be cloudy with little chance of rain and a high temperature of 50 degrees. A nice change after the scheduled home opener vs. Orlando was postponed, and the actual home opener vs. Minnesota was met with raw and rainy conditions.

2) In the event Je-Vaughn Watson makes an appearance Saturday, it will be his seventh game against his former squad and first with the Revolution. Watson has logged two goals over five starts and one substitute appearance against the team he played for over the 2011-2012 seasons.

3) The match will be refereed by Silviu Petrescu. The veteran ref was named the 2012 MLS referee of the year and has refereed an MLS Cup. This will be Petrescu’s 124th MLS game refereed and his second this season. The Revs had one point in three games refereed by Petrescu, which included a scoreless draw with DC United (3/12/16), a 4-2 loss to FC Dallas (5/21/16), and a 3-1 loss to Orlando (7/31/16).

Score prediction: Houston’s offense has been strong so far this season, netting 11 goals in 4 games and scoring at least twice in each of their four games. They also have quality wins over Seattle and the Red Bulls, and pose a strong threat to the Revs back line. However, Houston hasn’t proven they can play as well on the road, with only one away game in 2017 (a 4-2 loss at Portland) and a poor 2-9-6 away record in 2016. With mild weather expected for Saturday, I anticipate the Revolution to come out swinging similar to how they played against Minnesota, and will really test the Dynamo defense. Houston will get on the board, but I like the Revolution to take a 3-2 victory.

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