The Houston Dynamo and Columbus Crew face off for the second and final time of the 2012 MLS regular season on Sunday night (9:00 ET). The Crew are making their first ever trip to Houston’s new BBVA Compass stadium.
Columbus hosted the Dynamo back on April 21st. The game ended in a 2-2 draw as Eddie Gaven’s brace was canceled out by Will Bruin’s goal and assist.
The Crew are currently eleven points behind Houston in the standings, but the Dynamo have played three more games. Columbus has 29 points (8-8-5), while Houston has 40 (11-6-7).
Houston’s last two games were against the New York Red Bulls and both ended in a 2-0 favor to the home side. The Dynamo won at BBVA Compass Stadium on August 3rd and lost at Red Bull Arena on the 10th, ending an eight-game winning streak. Houston is undefeated at home this year, posting an 8-0-3 record.
Columbus has a short turnaround from their previous game. They played the Los Angeles Galaxy at home on Saturday, tying last season’s Supporters’ Shield and MLS Cup winners 1-1. Jairo Arrieta scored his third goal in five games for the Crew.
Federico Higuain, the Crew’s recent Designated Player signee, is scheduled to make his debut tonight. He went through preseason training with his previous team in Argentina and is supposedly fit to play. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the starting lineup.
The back four should remain the same for Columbus. Expect Chris Birchall to retain his defensive midfielder position. Cole Grossman may be dropped from the starting XI. Milovan Mirosevic might be moved next to Birchall, leaving the withdrawn forward position for Higuain. Dilly Duka and Eddie Gaven should start on the wings with Arrieta up top.
The Dynamo’s new formation of choice is a 4-3-3. Former Crew player Adam Moffat holds down the center of the pitch. Left winger Brad Davis is one of the best crosers in the league and already has ten assists to his name this year. Will Bruin is having a breakout season with ten goals. Boniek Garcia is extremely dangerous on the right wing.
Prediction: Crew 2-2 Dynamo
Jairo Arrieta continues his hot streak for Columbus, scoring a goal and setting up another with Federico Higuain. However, Houston continues their strong play at home, and the game ends level.