It has been two months since the New York Red Bulls trounced the Houston Dynamo, 3-0, at Giants Stadium, but the memories are still fresh in the mind of Dane Richards.
The Jamaican winger enjoyed arguably his best game of the season that day, torching Dynamo left back Wade Barrett repeatedly, recording an assist while also blowing past Barrett for a 26th minute goal en route to the stunning 3-0 victory at Giants Stadium on Aug. 24.
While Richards has burned defenses before, he thinks that Houston’s struggles with playing on artificial turf played a part. The theory makes sense considering the Dynamo is a horrid 0-6-6 in MLS games on artificial turf in the club’s three years of existence.
“That’s the good thing, they don’t like the turf,” Richards said. “Personally I’m going to try and run that left back to the ground because he don’t like the turf.
"Brian Ching, one of their top strikers, he definitely don’t like the turf," Richards added. "We were really physical with (Dwayne) De Rosario last time and he doesn’t like it, he came out early in the second half.
"They don’t like the turf and we’re going to use it for us.”
In that game, Juan Pablo Angel and Richards struck before the game was a half hour old. Mike Magee scored his fourth goal of the year when he ran onto a long ball by Diego Jimenez and beat Pat Onstad on the hour mark to complete the shocking blowout of a Houston team that, at the time, was the hottest in MLS with a seven-match unbeaten streak.
Richards is hoping he and his teammates can bring the same mojo this Saturday afternoon for the opening game of the Western Conference Semifinal Series. And considering the team’s woeful road form this season, a result at the Meadowlands is critical if they have any hopes of advancement.
“We were focused, we were really pumped for that game,” Richards said. “If we bring the same attitude into this game, I’m sure we can do the same thing or even more.”
While Richards’ memory of the Houston drubbing is vivid, that’s not the case with the 5-2 defeat at Chicago in the team’s regular-season finale a week ago.
“I don’t even remember about the last game, I don’t remember what happened,” he said. “It’s a clean slate…in my mind I have four games remaining because I’m going to be in Cali soon, at the end of November.”