Of all the guests slated to be in attendance atthe grand opening of Houston's new BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday, D.C.United will be the only ones looking to spoil the Orange-clad bash. Doing so won't be easy, as the hostsride a wave of emotion that has been slowly building towards this weekend'shistoric match.
"We've talked about looking at it theright way," United assistant coach Chad Ashton said on Thursday. "This is going to be a greatenvironment for us to play in. It's a great challenge for us to go in and take them on in the homeopener at that stadium. Let's gohave fun with it. Let's see howquiet we can make the place."
'The place' will be rocking early on, and it'sthose first 15 minutes that the Black-and-Red are specifically bracingfor. Behind a sell-out crowd, theDynamo will surely be buzzing. Houston hasn't played a home match since topping Philadelphia atRobertson Stadium in an early-November playoff tilt last year, and the joy offinally being at home figures to have a rejuvenating effect on the road-wearyhosts.
United midfielder Danny Cruz was a starter forthe Dynamo during that last home game, and will be particularly keen onstemming Houston's early momentum with a positive start.
"If we come out as well as New York did onWednesday I think we will be okay," Cruz said this week, referencingHouston's 1-0 midweek defeat at Red Bull Arena. "The start of the game, and getting the fans out of thegame is going to be important. Ifwe do what we've been doing every single game, I think we will be okay."
If the Dynamo are to enjoy a rowdy celebrationon Saturday, there's one man who will almost certainly play a major role. Forward Will Bruin has scored fivegoals in his last two appearances against the Black-and-Red, but on Saturday,D.C. has a plan to deal with the pesky striker.
"He never stops," Perry Kitchen saidof his classmate from the 2011 MLS SuperDraft. "We just have to keep track of him and make sure we getinto good challenges on him early in the game and hopefully get him out ofit."
Saturday's match is slated for a 4:30 start and - with heavythunderstorms expected much of Friday night and into Saturday morning in the Houston area - D.C.may find themselves playing in sloppy conditions. The historic affair will be televised nationally on the NBCSports Network.
» ANALYSIS: Breaking down Houston Dynamo
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REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. MLS Career: 64 games; FC/gm: 24.5; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 14; pens: 9
SAR (bench): Kermit Quisenberry; JAR (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Daniel Fitzgerald
- HOUSTON DYNAMO - OUT: DF Kofi Sarkodie (R foot sprain); GK Erich Marscheider (R shoulder sprain); FW Brian Ownby (L elbow dislocation)
- D.C. UNITED - OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L ACL tear); DF Emiliano Dudar (L hamstring strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Marcelo Saragosa (R soleus strain); MF Nick DeLeon (L hamstring strain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Dejan Jakovic (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: MF Kurt Morsink (L foot neurectomy); FW Josh Wolff (L hamstring strain); DF Ethan White (R knee surgery)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: none
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: DC: Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius
- ALL-TIME (13 meetings): Dynamo 7 wins, 22 goals ... United 4 wins, 15 goals ... Ties 2
- AT HOUSTON (6 meetings): Dynamo 5 wins, 12 goals ... United 0 wins, 4 goals ... Ties 1
- FUTURE MATCH: 7/15: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United, 8 p.m. CT (Galavision)
- United have never won in Houston, in six all-time visits. The Dynamo have a three-game home winning streak alive vs. D.C. United.
- United's win in the first meeting this year was their first since a 1-0 triumph April 4, 2009 at RFK Stadium. The Dynamo had four of the previous five meetings, with one draw.
- Coaches record: Dominic Kinnear vs. DC: P18 W8 L6 D4 ... Ben Olsen v HOU: P4 W1 L2 D1
LAST MEETING (MLS):
- 4/28: DC 3, HOU 2: (Maicon Santos 11, 70; De Rosario 54 - Bruin 50, 59)
- United once again got off to a flying start. In the 11th minute, a long ball out of the back from Brandon McDonald found Chris Pontius behind the defense, and he touched the ball around on-rushing Houston ëkeeper Tally Hall before finding an unmarked Maicon Santos for a header from the spot.
- The Dynamo pulled level in the 50th minute through Will Bruin. Jermaine Taylor placed a pinpoint cross in the box from the left corner, which the unmarked Bruin volleyed in from six yards out.
- But United were back ahead through Dwayne De Rosario in the 54th minute. After a corner was partially cleared, the Canadian international whipped a ball in from the left side that slithered past everyone, including Hall, as the ball curled in off the far post.
- Just five minutes later though, the Dynamo again were level. Bruin pounced on a loose ball outside the United box and fired dipping shot on frame that slipped under goalkeeper Joe Willis.
- But Maicon Santos wasn't to be outdone. In the 70th minute, he rose highest to meet a Daniel Woolard cross, nodding it off Hall's hand to the back of the net for the eventual game-winner.
- D.C. UNITED (4-3-1-2): Joe Willis - Robbie Russell, Brandon McDonald, Emiliano Dudar (Marcelo Saragosa 44), Daniel Woolard - Danny Cruz (Andy Najar 65), Perry Kitchen, Nick DeLeon - Dwayne De Rosario - Maicon Santos, Chris Pontius (Lewis Neal 83).
- HOUSTON DYNAMO (4-4-2): Tally Hall - Andre Hainault (Brad Davis 72), Geoff Cameron, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor - Je-Vaughn Watson (Calen Carr 59), Adam Moffat, Luiz Camargo, Corey Ashe (Kofi Sarkodie 82) - Will Bruin, Brian Ching.