It has been a little while since we have sat down with a fellow SBN blog ahead of a game but we’re thankful this week to chat with Derek Stowers of Dynamo Theory ahead of tomorrow’s big Texas Derby match.
Here are three pressing questions I had about the Houston Dynamo before FC Dallas takes them on Saturday night.
BDS: Wednesday night was a disappointing result for the Dynamo that saw a lead lost late, how does this team re-group for a big rivalry game on short rest? Do you see a different lineup thrown out on Saturday night?
DT: Somehow, disappointing doesn’t quite cover it given the lineup that Seattle trotted out and the one that the Dynamo did. They’ll probably be able to bounce back from Wednesday’s match quickly because the sting of not getting 3 points will still be palpable. I think that we’ll see some players that didn’t start Wednesday get the call to the XI, but it likely won’t be anything too radically different from our match against Seattle. Andrew Wenger proved his effectiveness in that game and could get the start over a wide midfielder given he came off the bench. Will Bruin also came off the bench and helped ignite some of the offense which was fairly listless with Cubo Torres in the center forward role. It won’t be anything too different as El Capitán is likely the last trophy we can earn this season and Wade Barrett is treating every game as a must-win given he’s playing for his job next year.
BDS: Outside of one game (and we all know which game I'm talking about), the Dynamo attack hasn't really been firing well this season. What is the main cause of that?
DT: Early in the year the Dynamo put everything they had into offense and for most of those early games (with one exception) teams equally punished us on the defensive end. Then manager Owen Coyle decided to put more emphasis on the defensive end following our trip to Vancouver where he witnessed Pedro Morales sending in passes over the top with great accuracy. Although none of his passes led to goals, Coyle still saw vulnerability and decided to keep the midfield more reserved with its ability to get forward in order to defend against the counter attack. Well the unintended consequence of that was the lone forward in Coyle’s 4-2-3-1 was left alone without support and teams were able to set up their defenses long before reinforcements arrived.
The difference between the Wade Barrett era and Coyle era is the tone of the defense. Barrett got a decent defense to improve to one of the league’s best, even when shorthanded in the back. However, the lack of support up top remains an issue as Barrett’s emphasis is concentrated on the defensive side of the ball. It’s something that is fixable if the wings would push up and pressure more and would put themselves in advanced positions or if we switched to a system with a 2nd forward so the two could play off each other.
BDS: The Dynamo have had a lot of draws since Wade Barrett took over, what needs to happen for the team to make a breakthrough and get a full three point in a match?
DT: Essentially, to get 3 points we need to do what I recommended in the last question. The team is fantastic on defense, although still prone to some gaffes, but cannot get it done on offense. Many fans point out lack of production from players like Will Bruin, but I believe even top class strikers would struggle in our system with the lack of support. This team is at its best when it pressures opponents in their own half in order to capitalize on turnovers and keep possession away from our own goal. If we can implement that mentality without sitting in after scoring or if we change to a system that has its own built in support system for offense such as a system with more than one forward, we would start scoring a lot more goals. This of course implies we maintain some of the defensive discipline that Barrett has instilled in our players, but we just need to take a few more risks in order to find the back of the net ourselves.
Lineup Projection: Joe Willis; Jalil Anibaba, Raul Rodriguez, David Horst, Sheanon Willilams; Alex Lima, Collen Warner; Cristian Maidana, Ricardo Clark, Andrew Wenger; Will Bruin