There are 90 minutes left in the season for the New York Red Bulls or Houston Dynamo, or maybe 120 minutes if extra time is involved, but by the end of the night one team's year will come to an end. Such is the nature of the playoffs and heading into the second leg of their Eastern Conference semifinal, neither team has an advantage. They played to a 2-2 draw in the first leg and while the Red Bulls have home field tonight, they are also without their best defender, Jamison Olave, who saw red in Houston.
In the absence of Olave, Mike Petke has moved Markus Holgersson into the center with Brandon Barklage taking his place at right back. Petke also made a couple other changes from the first leg with Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips coming into the team. The Wright-Phillips move is a shocker as he makes his first start since September 22.
The Dynamo are going with their regular starting XI in their typical 4-4-2. It's worked for them before, earning them MLS Cup appearances in consecutive years, and they are going to stick with it tonight. The question will they can contend in front of both goals, with the center of their defense a question mark and Will Bruin's form always a toss up.