We traded questions with our counterparts in Houston. We asked Derek Stowers from Dynamo Theory the following questions.
1. First of all, we hope everyone is okay and the recovery is going as well as possible. How did the hurricane affect the Dynamo? Is it something that they have rallied around for the city?
Dynamo Theory: I’m stating the obvious here, but hurricanes are never a good thing because of the death and destruction associated with them and Hurricane Harvey is no exception. It’s going to take months and even years to get back to where the city was. On the other hand, we’ve seen some of the most amazing acts of kindness and courage from every day citizens, local businesses, celebrities, and government officials that have shown that our city’s biggest strength is in its people. That’s one reason why we are #HoustonStrong.
The Dynamo organization used BBVA Compass Stadium as a donantion center with many of the players helping sort through items and take them in. There were so many people volunteering that many people that made the trip to East Downtown had to be turned away. This was a common theme exemplified by people lined up at George R. Brown Convention Center, a large shelter near BBVA, to volunteer their time and services only to be once again turned away. Houston sports has definitely given those affected by Harvey, not so much a distraction, but something to root for and keep spirits high. The Dynamo haven’t been the best since the hurricane hit, but they’re in a position that they control to make the playoffs for the first time in three years and that has given fans hope.
2. Houston has not kept a clean sheet in 7 games, should we be looking for a high scoring game?
DT: Only the Portland Timbers have scored more goals in the Western Conference than the Dynamo and we do most of our scoring at home. Although we’ll be without forwards Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto, expect Mauro Manotas and Cubo Torres to try their luck. Vicente Sanchez, our 37 year old playmaker, has come alive lately and is shredding defenses with his dribbling and vision. He’s been scoring goals and becoming a huge factor with his assists in games so do not take the old man lightly.
Defensively, we haven’t been consistent in the back. A big reason for that is the system that the Dynamo utilize which stresses high pressing by the forwards who seldom get back to help defend which puts them in positions to counter attack. This of course does leave them vulnerable at the back, but with the weapons we have up top, we can concede a goal or two and still get a positive result.
3. With Houston fighting for a playoff spot, what do they need to do to finish off the season and secure that playoff spot?
DT: It’s simple: they need to win. It’s so tight in the Western Conference that they cannot rely on results from other teams anymore. The games against Sporting Kansas City are those “six point swing” games you hear about with conference/division opponents, only since the Dynamo and SKC play twice it’s really a twelve point swing with huge playoff implications. Two wins over SKC will not be easy, but it may be enough to punch a ticket to the playoffs.
Derek asked The Blue Testament:
1. With several key players missing due to World Cup Qualifying or injuries, how will Peter Vermes tinker with his starting XI and get the desired results with essentially three games in nine days?
The Blue Testament: Less tinker, more plug-and-play. With the US players unavailable for Wednesday, most of the subs will be straight forward. Saad Abdul-Salaam for Graham Zusi and Eric Palmer-Brown for Matt Besler on the backline. Jimmy Medranda typically fills in for Benny Feilhaber but Cristian Lobato could also be that guy.
The real question for SKC is in goal. Does youthful Adrian Zendejas get the start over journeyman Andrew Dykstra?
2. Sporting Kansas City has a bit of a cushion when it comes to its points and making the playoffs, but how important is it for SKC to come out strong in its final games including coming into a tough place to play in Houston?
TBT: SKC has made the playoffs for a while now but the last two years they faded a bit and had to go to on the road and ended up barely losing to the eventual MLS Cup winners. In Portland a draw, keeper knocked out with a concussion, penalties, two posts on one shot and out. Last year two offsides, one called and one not and Seattle wins. Peter Vermes REALLY does not want to go on the road for one of those games this year so finishing top 4 is critical.
3 . SKC have been one of the most dominant clubs at home this season, but have struggled to get three points on the road (a story Dynamo fans are well versed in). What is one of the larger issues for this discrepancy and how will Vermes remedy this in time for the postseason?
TBT: Good question, I bet Vermes would like the answer if you have any good suggestions.
Sporting KC is one of the lowest scoring teams in the league but it mainly because of their lack of goals on the road. At home they are third in the west for goals with 30, on the road they on second worst with just 8. Hard to win on the road if you can’t score. They do seem to be getting a little better at scoring on the road. Well at least I keep telling myself that.
With sending Dwyer to Orlando the offense is more interesting and much less focused on a single striker. Diego Rubio is better at connecting with his team than Dom and they are looking more dangerous even if they haven’t scored a lot more yet.
Derek asked for our projected lineup and a prediction:
Dykstra (or maybe Zendejas)
Abdul-Salaam Opara Palmer-Brown Sinovic
Gerso Rubio Salloi
Predicted Outcome: Sporting KC takes lead but gives up late goal and we split the points.