Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Sunday, March 6 – 15:00 ET (20:00 GMT)
Match Odds: Houston Dynamo 11/8 – Draw 23/10 – New England Revolution 2/1
The Dynamo are entering their second season under head coach Owen Coyle and will hope to improve on last year’s eight-place finish in the Western Conference.
During the offseason they lost former captain Brad Davis and Giles Barnes will take over the responsibility for 2016. He will hope to lead his side to victory in Sunday’s home opener.
With the worst defence in the West last season, Coyle will want his backline to remain tight early on and a few clean sheets early in the season could set the tone for what is expected of a traditional Coyle side.
Houston Dynamo’s 2015 record: P34 – W11 – D9 – L14
During preseason, New England dispatched of the Dynamo 2-1 at home, with Scott Neumann and Teal Bunbury bagging the goals. So they have that positive mental boost going to BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday.
They finished last season poorly with only one win from their final five games so a good start will be high on the priority list for Jay Heaps’ men.
New England Revolution’s 2015 record: P34 – W14 – D8 – L12
Losing Jermaine Jones will undoubtedly have hurt them as he was a vital player in their midfield. Despite Jones leaving, the Revolution still have the attacking assets to trouble even the best of teams, and the Revs will expect to compete high up the Eastern Conference this season.
Houston Dynamo’s new signing, Collen Warner, who was traded from Toronto, is out of Sunday’s game. Will Bruin and Giles Barnes should start upfront judging by preseason selections.
New England Revolution have no injuries of note as yet. Teal Bunbury and Kelyn Rowe are expected to occupy the wings while Lee Nguyen will play centrally. London Woodberry could start at right-back and Charlie Davies is set to be preferred to Juan Agudelo upfront.
Houston Dynamo’s preseason form: D/W/L/W/D/L/D
New England Revolution’s preseason form: W/L/L/D/D/W/W
Key Stat: Houston Dynamo have only lost one of their last ten home matches in Major League Soccer.
Key Player: Lee Nguyen – Attacking midfielder Nguyen is a creative specialist in the final third. He is easily the Revolution’s best player when on song and will prove important to their season once more in 2016. As a prevalent source of chances, keeping Nguyen quiet will be Houston’s priority.
Houston Dynamo 1-2 New England Revolution – After the win in preseason, we’re expecting much of the same for New England. Houston will have problems keeping out the likes of Lee Nguyen and Charlie Davies and might just fall short in an intriguing home opener. The home fans will need to rally behind their side to increase their chances of victory here.