The weekend is nearly here which means it is a good time to discuss our upcoming game with a fellow blogger. Today we welcome in Derek Stowers from Dynamo Theory to help preview the first leg of the Texas Derby between FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo.
BDS: Houston played some key players this past Wednesday in their USOC win over Sporting KC. What does the Dynamo have left in the tank for a rivalry game this weekend?
DT: While Houston did play a first team lineup Wednesday against Sporting Kansas City, this past weekend at Colorado Wilmer Cabrera opted to rest many starters or have them come off the bench. At the very least that’s a few less miles clocked in a fairly recent amount of time. This is a game that has been hyped for awhile by the organization and I think the players and coach know its importance so I would anticipate a similar starting XI in strength – for better or for worse, they’re going for it. How much will they have left? This is a team that’s good at running and the attacking players will do that until they’re out of gas. The defenders and defensive midfielders must be aware those players might not track back as much due to heavy legs so they’ll be crucial to how this game plays out especially if the forwards have difficulty finishing.
BDS: Both teams may be accustom to the heat that we’re experiencing right now, how will Saturday’s temperatures affect this game and do you think this gives either side any advantage?
DT: To quote Yogi Berra, “it ain’t the heat, it’s the humidity” which simply means this heat will tire one out easier than usual (even for a game that starts at 8 PM). I think any advantage the Dynamo may have training in these conditions would be negated by any heavy legs from the midweek game. The game will likely have stretches where each side tries to slow the game down by controlling the ball just to give a little rest to their team while keeping the other on its toes. It will also have moments where one side tries to catch the other “recovering” and maybe take advantage of any flat-footed players. It has potential to be an exciting tactical display of picking chances or a slugfest if both sides are too tired.
BDS: We know the two clubs don’t like one another but how do Houston fans really feel about this rivalry?
DT: This game has been marketed by the Dynamo organization for a few weeks now and has been circled, underlined, and highlighted as one of the most important games of the year. In the past, the rivalry felt authentic with all the ugliness that accompanies a good duel between two sides that don’t care for each other. Those games were physical and it became easy for fans to see the importance of a good rivalry game. Since the Dynamo moved to the Eastern Conference, they’ve developed another rivalry with Sporting Kansas City which has largely continued through Houston’s return to the Western Conference. The rivalry with FC Dallas at times seems forced and hinges on all those great memories from the past. With that being said, it’s still important for a lot of people and is always one fans try and make it out to. When the Dynamo first regained El Capitán in 2016 after Dallas had held it for the last three seasons it felt like a huge win considering the club finished second to last overall. These games might not have the intensity they once had, but they’re still important and always fun – especially the last few years.
Lineup, 4-3-3: Joe Willis, DaMarcus Beasley, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Philippe Senderos, Adolfo Machado; Darwin Cerén, Tomás Martínez, Eric Alexander; Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas, Alberth Elis
Predictions: The realist in me says that this game goes 2-2 or 3-3, but the fan in me says I have to go for Houston so I’m going 3-1 to the home side.