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Dynamo-Red Bulls Preview
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
(AP) -- The injury-plagued New York Red Bulls are getting two players back while the Houston Dynamo are welcoming back one of their starters.
The Red Bulls should have Rafa Marquez and Roy Miller in their lineup Wednesday night when they try to continue their home mastery of a well-rested Dynamo team that should be boosted by the return of Colin Clark.
Marquez is eligible to return from a three-match ban and Miller is healthy after missing that same span with a knee injury. New York (5-3-1) is without star forward Thierry Henry, midfielder Teemu Tainio and defenders Wilman Conde and Stephen Keel due to injuries.
Henry, out with a strained right hamstring, remains second in MLS with nine goals.
The Red Bulls conceded 14 goals through seven matches before rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara led them to 1-0 victories in the last two. Their first game without Henry was successful as they employed a defensive approach Saturday at Los Angeles.
"I think we can survive three, four games like this," coach Hans Backe said. "We just have to focus on the defending game."
Clark is eligible to come back for Houston (2-2-2) after serving his three-game ban for directing a gay slur toward a ball boy during a 2-0 loss at Seattle on March 23. The midfielder, who started the first three matches, also was ordered to attend diversity and sensitivity training.
The Dynamo have played only three matches since that contest and last took the field in a 3-2 road defeat to D.C. United on April 28. That means Clark has been out of game action for 48 days.
"It's gone now, but it's been tough to take," Clark told the Dynamo's official website. "Three games is a pretty good suspension, and any suspension, you want to get done as soon as possible, but this one took a while. Now it's over and I can focus on New York."
Focusing on New York could be a challenge since a rematch with D.C. looms Saturday in Houston's first home game at the new BBVA Compass Stadium. Wednesday's contest ends a season-opening stretch of seven road games.
"Sometimes you have a tendency to look past the game because it's the home opener but then we get a reality check and realize that we have to get three points there," forward Will Bruin said. "It would be a lot of momentum if we could go to New York and get a win for the home opener."
Houston is 0-3-4 all-time at New York, which is on a 3-0-6 run in the series overall.
Bruin has scored four of Houston's seven goals. Defense has been a bigger issue during the Dynamo's 0-2-2 stretch as they have conceded eight goals.
Backe, meanwhile, has indicated that he may make lineup changes in addition to the returns of Marquez and Miller. The Red Bulls are playing the middle game of three in nine days, with a trip to Philadelphia set for Sunday.
"(LA) was a tough, tough game for them," Backe told the Red Bulls' official website. "They run a lot, they've done it in two games now. The flight to LA is also a killer."
Updated May 8, 2012