The Blue Testament asks Dynamo Theory...
1) The Dynamo have really had a tough time both on the road and on defense this year. What's been going wrong?
That's such a great question. I think if Dominic Kinnear knew exactly what the answer was then it wouldn't be a problem. The Dynamo have never been a strong road team, but this year has been particularly
abysmal. Our summertime blues were mostly due to injuries (Ricardo Clark concussion symptoms) and international call-ups (Brad Davis USMNT and Boniek Garcia Honduran National team), but these struggles
on the road have occurred all season. I think it's probably different game to game. Obviously missing key players is a factor, but defensive lapses have also persisted all year and have been a problem. A lot of talk amongst Dynamo fans is how Will Bruin has failed to put away some easy chances and they point to him as one area of concern. I'm less concerned with his finishing and more worried about the players around him not picking up some of the slack. In short, I don't think it's any one factor, but many and it only takes one mistake to lose a game.
2) This is around the time of year the Dominic Kinnear starts to use his magic as the Dynamo make a run towards the playoffs. Do you see a similar process happening this year?
It's so tough to tell. I want to say yes, and it still is technically possible. Since we've signed DaMarcus Beasley and Luis Garrido the team has won 2 and lost 2 (and you guessed it - 2 wins at home and 2 L's on the road). The talent is there, and it is possible. But is it likely? A lot of things have to go right for us to sneak in and it's definitely a long shot at this point. If the team can find ways to win away from BBVA Compass Stadium then sure, I believe they can. I believed a lot more before that 3-0 thrashing by Columbus though...
3) How has DaMarcus Beasley impact the Houston defense? What is his injury status for Friday?
Beasley does a lot of things for the Houston defense. One thing that was lacking was voice and leadership in the back and he brings a lot of that. With his speed, he's able to cover for our center back's mistakes without losing much of a step on his man which provides a lot of coverage for one player. His presence alone seems to be daunting and when he's on the field, the team as a whole looks more confident.
Everything that I heard about DMB sitting out last week was that he had a slight problem with his hamstring. It was minor and given his experience, he decided to speak up and decided against playing. He's been doing light training this week including jogging on the side (which was a few days ago) and has said that he expected to play this week so that's what I believe as well.
Dynamo Theory asks The Blue Testament....
1) SKC dropped the Dynamo 2-0 in Houston in June. How will this team differ from the one that bested us once already this year?
There will be a lot more players available for selection, namely Graham Zusi and Matt Besler, who were both with the National Team at that point. Sporting has also added defensive midfielder Jorge Claros and they've been forced to recall Jon Kempin from Oklahoma City to be the starting keeper. The team overall seems better than the team that played the Dynamo back in June since they don't have as many defensive issues, plus having Graham Zusi on the wing adds a lot to the attack. Sporting has been on and off the past couple of weeks, however, so we'll just have to see which team shows up to this match.
2) Last week's matches did not go well for either side and I fully expect each team to come back motivated to win. That being said, Houston is entering the Sporting Park and has only won once on the road all year. What are some ways that the Dynamo could hope to earn a result in a tough place to play?
Well, Houston's tendency to give up goals this goal does not bode well for them considering Sporting's improved front three this year and their high pressure system. The good news for the Dynamo is that Sporting KC has been very underwhelming at home and have a defensive liability at right back in Igor Juliao, who will be going up against Brad Davis. Teams have been able to come into Sporting Park and put numbers behind the ball, waiting for an opportunity to catch the wing backs too far forward. Kinnear is a coach that will grind out a result if needed so I could definitely see him employing this strategy, especially with the Davis-Juliao matchup.
3) Dynamo supporters often feel like a rivalry exists between Sporting Kansas City and our men in orange. Is it fair to call these teams rivals and if so what are some of your favorite moments when these two teams go head to head?
I would definitely say that Sporting Kansas City and the Dynamo are rivals. The Dynamo broke Sporting fans hearts in 2011 when they came into Sporting Park and cost the team a berth in the MLS Cup right when the momentum of the rebrand has reached a peak. Then, they infuriated Sporting supporters the very next year when they were able to hold on to the advantage they gained in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals. As for my favorite moments, well last year's MLS Cup felt amazing to finally have a champion in Kansas City. It was made even sweeter the fact that Sporting was able to beat the Dynamo on the way to the Cup. Not to mention Sporting giving Houston their first loss at BBVA Compass Stadium and Aurelien Collin scoring a late goal during our unbeaten run i 2011. Both of these teams play a physical style and it elevates the game each time these teams play. If/When Houston moves to the Western Conference, that one game a season between the two squads is going to be spectacular.