The Texas Derby is tonight and as usual we went out to get three questions with our rival's blog ahead of tonight's game. Today we welcome Derek Stowers from the Dynamo Theory to answer a couple of questions to get us all ready for the Dynamo tonight.
BDS: Houston started off so strong offensively, what has changed in the last couple of months that have cooled this group off?
DT: I think more of an emphasis on the defensive end stunted a lot of our offensive weapons and potential. While we kept largely the same shape formation wise, tactically Coyle needed players to come back and support the defense because we were getting scored on a lot. This really started after our first match against Vancouver which saw Pedro Morales place accurate long balls onto players making runs who got behind our defenders. Even though the tactic was only successful at providing chances on goal rather than goals themselves, Coyle decided more defensive presence was needed (though we only lost that game by a controversial penalty!).
How much of a shift was this? Before the Vancouver game we had scored a staggering 11 goals in 3 games and after this game we scored just 8 goals in 9 games so the team is definitely having troubles on offense. But how did this shift impact the defense? Before Vancouver we had given up 7 goals in 3 games (which is a lot). Afterwards we gave up 13 goals in 9 games. This is giving up about a goal less per game, but at a significant cost to the offense. The team really could have utilized a high press and taken advantage of opportunities early, and then allowed those offensive players to sit in more. Hopefully we’ll see more balance as our club moves forward.
BDS: How is the team changing after Owen Coyle left?
DT: It’s really hard to tell given we haven’t had a lot of time without Coyle, but Assistant Coach Wade Barrett, Sports Performance Director Paul Caffrey, and Goalkeeper Coach Paul Rogers are currently splitting managerial duties with Barrett largely seen as the leader of the trio. The only game we’ve been Coyle-less was last week against the Vancouver Whitecaps and the three coaches changed Coyle’s usual 4-2-3-1 formation to a more balanced 4-1-4-1 formation. The result was a lot of attacking opportunities early as the team pressed, but the team also grew complacent after our lead and we allowed Vancouver back into the game to draw. However, this was our first point on the road of the season so it’s seen somewhat as a victory. It was a small victory, but a victory nonetheless.
BDS: What is the perception around Houston about the Texas Derby this year? Obviously it got off to a good start for the Dynamo but do Houston fans feel this rivalry has cooled off in any way?
DT: There is always going to be a rivalry between Houston and Dallas teams. That rivalry might change temperature from time to time depending on the state of the club or other circumstances, but there will always be something between the two sides. Over the years, the Dynamo and its fans developed an intense rivalry with Sporting Kansas City, one that still exists, due to our transfer to the Eastern Conference. Only playing 1 game a year against Dallas hurt our rivalry considerably which allowed us to develop one with SKC.
Last year Dallas was, admittedly, a very good team and Houston was, also admittedly, not. That took away some of the impact of the game as Houston got kicked around all 3 games last season. This season, things looked brighter following our incredibly surprising 5-0 win against FCD. Obviously, the club has taken a bit of a turn since then, as mentioned above, and it’s had some effect on our perception of the Texas Derby. A win over FC Dallas would be our first win on the road and would bring back El Capitán to Houston for the first time in 3 seasons. That could change the attitude of Houston fans about the season (also a new coach with immediate results).
Lineup prediction: 4-1-4-1: Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley, Raul Rodriguez, David Horst, Sheanon Williams; Collen Warner; Leonel Miranda, Oscar Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, Andrew Wenger; Erick “Cubo” Torres