The weekend is here as FC Dallas and the Houston Dynamo get set to resume their rivalry in a new season. As we like to do from time to time, we’ve welcomed in a fellow SBNation blog to help us preview our upcoming game with a series of three questions.
Today, we welcome Derek Stowers from the Dynamo Theory.
BDS: Year two for Tab Ramos is off to a bit of a slow start and pundits around the league view them as possibly one of the worst teams going into 2021. What can he do to get this Dynamo squad back to their glory days?
DT: This is going to sound simplistic and cliché, but he’s got to get the most out of the players that he’s working with. By that I mean, build up their confidence, have them playing his way, but also utilizing the strengths of his best possible XI. The primary owner of the Dynamo, Gabriel Brener, has not put a lot of money into the club, at least relative to some of the major competitors, so Tab will have to make the most of it to try and compete. If Brener decides to splash some cash and maybe take advantage of our open designated player slots that would go a long way towards supporting Tab and giving him resources to succeed. For now, it seems like he’s somewhat on his own in that regard. Also, Tab can get better at recognizing when to substitute.
BDS: There are some familiar faces in Houston for Dallas fans (Urruti, Picault and Figueroa), but who are some names that we don’t know of this season?
DT: There are a few new additions to the Dynamo that you’re likely to see apart from those that you mentioned. The Dynamo traded quite a penny of their General Allocation Money to acquire Tim Parker, a tough and savvy center back. Joe Corona has played in the midfield and his long through passes have been very complementary to the forwards, although there are some issues with his durability. The homegrown product Derrick Jones has really impressed Tab Ramos. Jones is a very big central midfielder capable of making tackles, but also quickly distributing the ball out wide or up the field.
BDS: What are Houston fans expecting out of this team in 2021? Are they a playoff team?
DT: Most of my readers know my takes are generally more on the optimistic side, but this season I didn’t quite feel that with the Dynamo as currently constructed. The team only has one designated player, Darwin Quintero, and even with some of the positive offseason moves like picking up Tim Parker and Joe Corona, the team needs some more investment to truly compete. Of course, there’s a chance to sneak into the playoffs, but I don’t think they have the ability to make any kind of run if they do.
That being said, there are some things that could happen to better position us in the future. If our younger guys like Jones and Memo keep improving, which they’re certainly capable and they have one of the best coaches to help them, then the Dynamo will have a very solid foundation to build around.
BDS: Bonus question, thoughts on Austin FC?
DT: I think generally people from Houston, at least in the circles that I know, are pretty split on Austin as a city. The Texas Hill Country is great, the city is lovely, the food is fine, but it’s the stereotype of the people that think they’re a little better than everyone else that tends to be the sticking point for criticism. I think that could be the basis of any form of rivalry with them. But generally, I think it’s great they have a team. More Texas teams at the table are more than welcome and if we have any in-fighting that’s also great, but will take time to develop. I think where Dynamo fans and FC Dallas fans will come together – as best we can anyways – is that another Texas team is way better than another team in NY or LA.