Zach "The Ginge" Woosley was kind enough to take time to answer these questions.
Me: How important are Geoff Cameron and Brad Davis to the Dynamo attack? Does anyone else step up if they aren't on their A-game?
ZW: Brad Davis is far too important right now to the Dynamo attack, while Cameron isn't important enough. As Cameron has continued to struggle to give the Dynamo the kind of attacking creativity that the CAM should, opponents have been able to key of Davis and in turn, neutralize the Houston offense. When Danny Cruz was healthy, he was able to balance the midfield with his speed, but since his knee injury, Clark and Watson haven't done enough on the other side of the pitch to force defenses to stop focusing on shutting Davis down. It's a one dimensional attack right now.
(Read on for more)
Me: How has the defense improved from 2010 to this year?
ZW: Bobby Boswell is having a more Boswell-like season and the addition of Hunter Freeman has helped as well. The real change has come from the Corey Ashe experiment at fullback working out better than anyone could have anticipated and the maturation of Andre Hainault. The Canadian defender is having an all-star caliber season in the central defense and has been making play after play in key spots that has helped returned the Dynamo defense to near the level we were used to.
Me: What does this rivalry mean to the Dynamo and it's fans?
ZW: I think Dynamo fans care about the rivalry in the sense that the city of Houston has such a healthy dislike for Dallas. I don't think anyone really cares about the cannon and while the billboard and video are creative and fun, in the end it's just about beating Dallas and holding our two MLS Cups over them. Maybe I'm underestimating it, but having experienced several intense rivalries first hand in a variety of sports, the Dynamo/FCD rivalry feels more like something that the front offices and league are trying to cultivate than something the fans really care that much about. In the end for the Dynamo, it's about making the playoffs and winning championships...and Dallas not winning them.