Tonight's New England Revolution match against the Houston Dynamo will mark the first time the Revs have ever visited BBVA Compass Stadium. The Dynamo haven't lost there yet - New England should be chomping at the bit for the opportunity to spoil that run for their hated MLS Cup rivals.
It won't be easy; despite Houston's inconsistency this season, they remain a tough, physical team with some real talent in the attack. Against the patchwork back line and midfield that the Revs are going to be trotting out, Houston's typically bruising game plan and danger on set pieces could prove too much for New England to handle, especially away from home.
Defensively, the Revs have to keep Brad Davis from having an impact on this game. No matter who the Dynamo put around him, be it Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, or anyone, Davis continues to be the beating heart of this team in the attack. With Clyde Simms possibly unfit for the match and Ryan Guy unavailable due to international duty, it's going to be up to the Revs' central midfielders to work together and neutralize the threat. This is where Benny Feilhaber could prove crucial if he starts - Benny's defensive work has improved exponentially this season, and he still possesses the vision and skill to create from deep, meaning the Revs will lose little in the attack if he plays a recessed role.
Offensively, the Revs have to deal with size. Bobby Boswell and Andre Hainault are big, imposing, and angry, and they play like it. Jerry Bengtson should be able to match these guys physically; Diego Fagundez is a question mark in that area. It might be better to let Dimitry Imbongo pair up with Bengtson, and if Jay Heaps is desperate to get Diego on the field, pushing the teenager back into the midfield or on the wing could be the answer. Truly, this might be a game for Blake Brettschneider as well. Plenty has been said about Blake's lack of vision and touch, but he's another big body who has absolutely no problem mixing it up.
REVOLUTION INJURY REPORT
QUESTIONABLE: Clyde Simms (R Calf Tightness)
OUT: Florian Lechner (R MCL Sprain), Lee Nguyen (R Shoulder surgery), Tyler Polak (R Foot Sprain), Saer Sene (L ACL Surgery), Chris Tierney (L Knee Sprain, L Hamstring Strain)
DYNAMO INJURY REPORT
- New England and Houston have met 13 times in the overall MLS regular-season series, with the Revs holding a 6-2-5 record against the Dynamo ... the Revolution is 6-3-7 against the Dynamo in all competitions, including MLS Cup and SuperLiga
- Saturday's meeting will conclude the regular-season series between the two teams in 2012 ... the clubs played to a 2-2 draw on May 19, in Foxborough
- Saturday's match will be the Revs' inaugural visit to BBVA Compass Stadium, which opened in May 2012 ... the Revs are 4-1-1 on the road against Houston, all at the Dynamo's former home Robertson Stadium
- In all but one meeting - the 2-1 Revs win in Houston on Oct. 10, 2010 - the winning team has recorded a shutout or the match has ended in a draw ... overall, there have been seven shutouts in 12 regular-season meetings
- Houston won the 2011 regular-season series, shutting out the Revs, 1-0, on April 17 in Houston before the two teams played to a 1-1 draw on Aug. 17 at Gillette Stadium
- Houston's victory in the regular-season series in 2011 was just the second Dynamo regular-season series victory ... the Revs won the regular-season series in 2007, 2008 and 2010, while the teams split in 2006 and 2009.
- New England and Houston have met in three tournament finals in the last seven years (MLS Cup 2006, MLS Cup 2007, SuperLiga 2008) ... Houston won the 2006 MLS title match in penalty kicks after extra time finished 1-1 in Frisco, Texas, and then one year later took the 2007 championship with a come-from-behind, 2-1 victory in Washington, D.C. ... the Revs won SuperLiga 2008 in penalty kicks after the teams were knotted at 2-2 after extra time at Gillette Stadium
- Saer Sene is the Revolution's current leading scorer against Houston with two goals in one appearance ... Sene scored a penalty kick goal and later an unassisted strike when the teams last met on May 19, 2012
- Sainey Nyassi has also recorded one goal and one assist in five appearances against Houston
- Kevin Alston recorded the first assist of his career against the Dynamo, picking up the second assist on Kheli Dube's game-winning goal at Houston on Aug. 25, 2009
- Matt Reis is 5-2-5 in his regular-season career against the Dynamo with an 0.92 goals against average and five shutouts
- Bobby Shuttleworth has one win in one appearance against Houston, making a career-high six saves in the Oct. 10, 2010 meeting
- Former Rev Steve Ralston is Houston's assistant coach, and still holds a share of the New England career scoring lead against the Dynamo with three goals and one assist in seven regular-season appearances
BROADCAST INFORMATION: TV: CSN, 8:30 PM EST; RADIO: 98.5 The Sports Hub, 8:30 PM EST