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New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo Preview

Because I'll always love THAT free-kick against Houston.
Because I'll always love THAT free-kick against Houston.

New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo
Wednesday, May 9, 7:00 PM EDT
The Cathedral of Football, Red Bull Arena
Form: RBNY WDLWW | HOU WLDDL
Moving Picture Box Coverage: MSG
SBN Dynamo Perspective: Dynamo Theory

A busy week for the New York Red Bulls continues with tonight's clash against the struggling Houston Dynamo. Again, we're right up against both the Rangers' and Knicks' vital playoff games, which will definitely result in a Post backpage if the Red Bulls win.

Anyway, on to the game! New York has a decent record against Houston in recent years, last losing to the Dynamo in May 2008. Since then, many of the matches between the two have ended in draws (P9 W3 D6 L0) including both games last year.

The Dynamo haven't played since April 28 -- thanks, MLS, for your fair scheduling! -- when they lost 3-2 against D.C. United. To be fair to the league and Houston, the long gap is probably because they're waiting for the new stadium to open down in Texas (their home opener will be against DC this weekend), but making the Red Bulls face a well-rested team in the middle of a three-game week after a West Coast trip isn't the best for New York.

The lovely chalkboards available on mlssoccer.com and the Opta stats for their games so far indicate that this game should be very different from Saturday's. The Dynamo have fairly poor pass completion percentages: they have yet to complete more than 80% of their passes in any game this year, and have twice completed fewer than 70%. Their passing tends to go one of two ways: either focused passing along the midfield and defensive lines, or very direct play from the back to the wingers and forwards. Houston are also slightly right-side dominant, and have been dominated in central midfield in a couple of matches. This should mean that New York will be able to control the midfield and dictate the pace of the match, although Houston's attacking focus could put Connor Lade or Roy Miller under pressure at left back.

The Red Bulls team news is...mixed. Which is to say that it should be good, with players coming back, but presents another opportunity for Rafael Marquez and Roy Miller to be scapegoats again. Márquez returns from suspension and Miller is back after a knee injury, and both are likely to return to the starting XI. Jan Gunnar Solli is likely to start again despite a calf injury against LA, and Juan Agudelo might even feature after his brief substitute appearance on Saturday. Thierry Henry, Teemu Tainio, Wilman Conde, and Stephen Keel are all still injured.

We'll (I'll) be minute-by-minute-ing this in our match thread, so stop by and yell at me in text form. Or something like that.