The New England Revolution made the trip to Texas to take on the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night. The Revs earned a last-minute draw with New York on Saturday, while the Dynamo - still in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race - lost badly to Philadelphia on Sunday.
The Dynamo are a big team that defends hard and plays very physical. Bobby Boswell and Andre Hainault are big bodies who knock around with forwards, while Jermaine Taylor is more than capable of mixing it up. Jerry Bengtson shouldn't have too much trouble dealing with the physical play, but Diego Fagundez, who has started since Saer Sene went down through injury, may not be so lucky. It might be best for the Revs to start someone like Dimitry Imbongo or even Blake Brettschneider to cope. Either way, Houston's defense is rough, but not airtight; they've conceded 37 goals in 30 games, just four fewer than the Revolution.
Offensively, Houston's full of weapons, although getting them all on the same page has been a season-long struggle. Will Bruin leads the line, and his powerful style mimics the Dynamo defense. A.J. Soares and Stephen McCarthy must be ready to match Bruin's physicality, and also the athleticism of Macoumba Kandji, while Boniek Garcia on the opposite flank will give Kevin Alston his greatest test yet as a professional left back. Still, despite all this, the offense begins and ends with Brad Davis. Given any space to work, Davis can place the ball just as well as anyone with his left foot.
New England's injury report is depressingly long, leaving Jay Heaps with very few options to work with on Saturday. Florian Lechner, Lee Nguyen, Tyler Polak, and Chris Tierney all join Saer Sene on the "out" list, while Clyde Simms, who traveled with the team to Houston, is questionable. This virtually sets the Revs' back line in stone: (L to R) Alston, Soares, McCarthy, Barnes.
Houston is one of two Eastern Conference teams that the Revs face only twice in 2012. Their last encounter ended in a 2-2 draw at Gillette Stadium.
The match will be televised live on CSN at 8:30 PM EST. 98.5 The Sports Hub will handle the radio call.
For more Revolution coverage, visit our team page and blog, The Bent Musket.