The Dynamo were stymied by Columbus in their midweek clash and return days later to take on a Red Bulls side with first place in the Eastern Conference in its sights.When the New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo meet, the pendulum tends to swing heavily in the home team's favor. If history is to dictate what happens Sunday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium, then the advantage belongs to the men in orange.
The Dynamo put a 3-0-4 all-time home record against injury-riddled New York on the line, looking to bounce back from Wednesday's lackluster loss to the Columbus Crew while shrinking the gap between the top sides in the Eastern Conference and those on the edge of the playoff picture.
One of those sides at the top is New York, which won the first meeting between the two sides 2-0 on June 30 to improve to 6-0-3 at home against Houston. The Red Bulls are currently locked in a three-way tie for first in the East with Sporting Kansas City and Montreal (although the Impact have two games in hand), but all three are just five points clear of sixth-place Houston.
The matchup will be lacking some of its Designated Player star power. Houston will be without Oscar Boniek Garcia, who has reported for Honduras international duty, and New York will be without injured Australian standout Tim Cahill.
New York's back line will be thinned out as well, with Ibrahim Sekagya suspended, Roy Miller and Connor Lade out injured and Brandon Barklage questionable with a hip strain. Full back Kosuke Kimura is still on his way back from a concussion, and center back Jamison Olave returned in a reserve capacity from a quadriceps tear, playing 14 minutes in last weekend's 2-1 win over rival D.C. United.
That will be music to the ears of star Houston winger Brad Davis and forward Will Bruin, the latter of whom will be looking to bounce back after failing to capitalize on early opportunities in the 2-0 loss to Columbus.
Houston's back line will be without Jamaica call-up Jermaine Taylor, and the unit that has endured a rough patch will have to contend with Thierry Henry in an effort to maintain the club's unbeaten home mark against its next opponent.