1) How badly will Corey Ashe's absence hurt the Dynamo? Will the game plan change to play in more of a defensive mindset to make up for the absence or will they just hope that Ashe's replacement will be up to par?
If there is a single position on this squad where being without a starter is felt the most, it is either left back or right back. With Corey Ashe out, the team will need to hope whomever steps into the outside back role on the left side is capable of linking up with Davis and making runs deep into the opposing half.
Dom is not one to go into a shell, especially in the playoffs, and so I don't expect the trend to reverse now. I think they expect, not hope, Ashe's replacement to be up to par with what Ashe brought to the left back position.
2) Saturday will be Houston's 7th match in 21 days. Will we see more of Houston's depth or will the starters be out in full force? Does the extra thirty minutes in New York change the game plan at all?
The starters will pretty much be out in full force. The guys on this squad live for this time of year. They relish the challenge of pushing their bodies until their bodies just give out. The extra 30 minutes means we will see Dom probably make his subs earlier than normal, maybe around 60' mark similar to what he did pulling Bruin in the second leg against NYRB.
3) We've seen some real clunkers between Sporting KC and Houston this year. All three were low-scoring, physical and frustrating matches. Do you think we'll see more of this style of play or will the playoff atmosphere and tired legs change the offensive output?
I'm honestly not sure what to expect. This squad has proven no matter what happens, they will fight with everything they have on the pitch until the final whistle blows. I think we'll see an initial 10-15 minutes of each team feeling the other out, and then when one team starts to push it will get really good.
Honestly, there's no other team we'd want to play at this stage. SKC always brings out the best in our boys, and we're almost sadistically joyous at the opportunity to try and knock the Wizards out from the playoffs for a third year in a row.