Will Bruin 3

Houston’s formation change, Will Bruin’s late equalizer give the Dynamo just what it needs (video)


Back in 2007, Houston trailed New England by a goal in a big game on the East Coast. It was the MLS Cup final, in face.

A formation change out of the Dynamo’s tried-and-true 4-4-2 gave Houston what it needed, an equalizer that turned the match (and those MLS Cup fortunes, as Houston went on to win.)

The stakes weren’t as high Saturday at Gillette Stadium, but the result probably will mean a lot in deciding who does and doesn’t go into the 2013 MLS playoffs. And once again, it was a shift out of the 4-4-2 and into a 3-5-2 that helped get Houston there against the Revs.

Houston’s 1-1 draw at Gillette keeps Houston in fourth place, still with a chance of catching Sporting Kansas City for the far more valuable third spot. Plus, Dominic Kinnear’s team has three of its remaining four regular season matches at home, so things look pretty good for the Orange. (Which is surely why Houston folded itself right back into the 4-4-2 following Will Bruin’s 76th minute strike; the tie serves Houston well.)

The draw does not, on the other hand, do good things for the Revolution, trying to fight its way back into the post-season bidding for the first time since 2009. Jay Heaps’ team is sixth, still one spot out of the playoffs.

Highlights from Gillette Stadium:


Hilarious “Friends” spoof video ‘starring’ Messi, Ronaldo (video)

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Given the rivalry surrounding the two megawatt superstars plying their trade in Spain, you may be surprised to learn that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best of friends.

[ MORE: Top USMNT-Mexico rivalry moments ]

At least that’s what this spoof video conveys, as the Real Madrid and Barcelona stars help each other navigate tax season and toilet troubles.

Brilliant stuff, from FootbOle:

Top USMNT-Mexico moments: Looking back ahead of Saturday

PASADENA, CA - JUNE 25:  Landon Donovan #10 of United States celebrates his goal with teammates Carlos Bocanegra #3 and Alejandro Bedoya #22  against Mexico during the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup Championship at the Rose Bowl on June 25, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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You could argue its the biggest match between the U.S. and Mexico outside of the 2002 World Cup’s Round of 16, and there would be few arguments against you.

The United States and Mexico will tangle on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, with the winner advancing to the 2017 Confederations Cup finals in Russia.

It’s only so often that these rivals match up in a “do or die” match. Sure World Cup qualifiers carry critical import, but they don’t always become the decisive moment in the qualifying cycle.

[ MORE: Spurs’ teen shining at center back for U.S. U-23s ]

Aside from the aforementioned World Cup match and the first match in the rivalry — see 1934 below — no other match has carried as much international weight as Saturday.

So with anticipation high, let’s dance backward in time to the Yanks’ best moments in the rivalry. And let’s also imagine what would have to happen to put Saturday in the mix.

(Of course, our apologies to Mexican fans. We aren’t including the times you slapped American soccer in the face).

2001, 2005, 2009, 2013 — “Dos a Cero” to the fourth power

There is no more celebrated score line in USMNT history than the 2-0 hurting it put on Mexico in four successive home World Cup qualifiers.

2002 — World Cup Round of 16

Goals from Brian McBride and Landon Donovan prodded an upset of the world’s then-No. 7 ranked nation, as the USMNT carried a feel of destiny through its best World Cup.

1934 — World Cup qualifier

Aldo Donnelli scored all four goals as the States won the first recorded match against Mexico, and it was a big one. The winner would go on to the 1934 tournament in Italy, while the loser would go on a tour of European friendlies. The States won, and wouldn’t win again until the qualifiers for the 1982 tournament.

2012 — First win at Azteca

It may’ve been a friendly, but Michael Orozco’s finish will go down as the Yanks’ first ever winner in the fortress of Mexico City.

1980 — World Cup qualifier

Though it meant little to the Yanks’ fate in the 1982 tournament — the U.S. finished last in a group with Mexico and Canada — it was the first win over El Tri in 46 years.