It has been a while since we’ve been able to do one of these but we’re happy to welcome in Derek Stowers from the Houston Dynamo blog, Dynamo Theory, to help preview tomorrow night’s game against FC Dallas.
BDS: Houston continues to be in the hunt for a playoff spot but the looming issue continues to revolve around their play on the road. How can the Dynamo get over the hump on Wednesday night when they visit FCD?
DT: Their biggest enemy on the road is themselves. At home they play a confident, fast, counter attacking brand of soccer, but on the road they tighten up and play conservatively rather than like the loose cannon that they were built to be. When they worry about possession, turnovers, and not playing long passes behind defenses, we struggle. A lot of that is because we don’t have a playmaker* to slow the pace down and control where the ball goes.
In recent road games, we’ve performed better having gone on a decent run of 5 points out of a possible 12 over their last four road games. Instead of sitting back and defending for entire halves at a time, they’re only doing it for 5 – 10 minutes before playing like themselves again. That’s a much better way to manage games on the road. They still aren’t doing themselves some favors as our last road game to the Vancouver Whitecaps saw Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera deliberately rest some key players which ended up being a risk he may not have wanted to take. Still, when we play like ourselves we are capable of beating anyone. Can we take it to a tough team like FC Dallas in front of their fans? We’ll have to wait and see.
*we do have a designated player in Tomas Martinez who is expected to be our playmaker, but Cabrera has been slowly working him into games.
BDS: When the Dynamo attack is on, they're tough to beat this season. But what have teams done to ensure they stay off the board?
DT: As mentioned above, when the Dynamo sit back and strand their forwards, it hurts their ability to find chances on goal. Teams that have done well against us have been teams that have forced us to play narrow across the field. One example of that is the Portland Timbers who took away our ability to play wide and their central midfielders were quick to recover the ball from us. Another way is to get physical. When we’re playing a long ball behind defenses, get rough with the attacker. You might draw a foul, but you stop a counter attack. Those have been the best ways, but it isn’t easy to stop us when we’re confident going forward.
BDS: How big of a victory would it be to retain El Capitan for another year for the Houston fans?
DT: It’s always a big deal. I think the rivalry went through a rough patch when the Dynamo were in the Eastern Conference, and the passion died down to some degree which cheapened some of the wins and losses. It didn’t help that through that time we only played once a year during the regular season. I don’t think winning El Capitan will mean as much as it did last year simply because last year we were admittedly crap except against FCD so we needed that as our consolation trophy. This year we have bigger ambitions, but losing a cannon to a rival would hurt. I mean, who wouldn’t want to keep a cannon?
Lineup prediction: 4-3-3 – Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley, Leonardo, Adolfo Machado, Jalil Anibaba; Alex Lima, Eric Alexander, Ricardo Clark; Romell Quioto, Cubo Torres, Alberth Elis