The teams that finished 2013 third and fourth in the East will square off to open the 2014 season Saturday in Houston, as the Dynamo welcome in the New England Revolution.
Both teams finished last season on 51 points, with New England edging out the third spot in the Eastern Conference thanks to a plus-11 goal difference.
Saturday's match will be the first of three between the clubs in the regular season, with the teams having met 17 times in league play over the years. New England holds the advantage in the series, having won seven times to Houston's four, with the teams having drawn six times.
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Houston, however, can boast about having claimed a couple of MLS crowns at the expense of the Revs, with the teams having met in back-to-back finals in 2007 and 2008 and Houston coming out on top both times.
Houston said goodbye to Bobby Boswell, Calen Carr and club legend Brian Ching in the offseason, but returns a strong nucleus from the 2013 squad, including playmaker Brad Davis, who will once again be asked to carry a heavy load in sparking the Dynamo attack.
For New England, the loss of forward Juan Agudelo should be well covered by the acquisition of Teal Bunbury from Sporting Kansas City, but the club also lost longtime starting goalkeeper Matt Reis, who retired after having his season ended by injury in 2013.
The clubs will open their season Saturday night, with the game slated to kickoff at 8:30 p.m. ET at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
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