To get a bit more info about Houston, I spoke with Dustyn Richardson of Dynamo Theory to get learn more about the 2019 Houston Dynamo.
1. The Houston Dynamo look like they may be without their key playmaker Alberth Elis once again as he continues to go through concussion protocol. Who will step up for the Dynamo and be the main attacking threat that Sporting KC should worry about?
UPDATE, 6/1, 4 p.m. CT: I am now hearing it is likely that Alberth Elis will clear concussion protocol and start for the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night.
With Elis likely out again this week, his fellow countryman Romell Quioto will likely get the start on the wing. Quioto has been very hit and miss this season, so look for homegrown player Memo Rodriguez to pick up the slack. Rodriguez has five goals and two assists this season and has played very well with striker Mauro Manotas. Rodriguez compliments Manotas well and can give defenses fits with his pace and passing ability.
2. BBVA Compass Stadium always seems to be a tough place to play, and this season is no different as the Dynamo are 6-0-2 (W-L-D) so far in 2019. What makes it such a difficult place to play given that it doesn’t usually sell out?
The weather is a huge factor in making BBVA such a tough place to play. There aren’t many places in the world where you have to play in 90 degree temperatures with 90 percent humidity. Partnered with the fact that the Dynamo love to run at the opposition, teams get fatigued quickly playing in Houston. The Dynamo have, on multiple times this season, been able to score late goals to gain points from their drained opposition.
3. The Dynamo have one of the better defenses in MLS so far this year, allowing just 13 goals to date (only LAFC and ATLUTD have allowed fewer at 11 a piece). What are the main reasons for the strong defensive start this season, and is there a weakness Sporting KC could look to exploit?
When the Dynamo signed CB Maynor Figueroa late in the offseason a lot of fans and pundits shook their heads. Fast forward to the end of May, and Figueroa has been a rock for the Dynamo and one of the best center backs in MLS. Former Palermo defender Kiki Struna usually partners with Figueroa in the center of the Houston defense. The two have been exceptional this season, especially compared to what the Dynamo threw out at center back last season (sorry Leonardo).
The weakness for the Dynamo defense would be with their outside backs. DaMarcus Beasley, who recently announced his retirement, and Adam Lundkvist do a solid job at left back but both tend to push in to the attack often. Right back AJ DeLaGarza has been beat for goals this season and is likely the player Peter Vermes will look to exploit. DeLaGarza isn’t as quick as he once was, and if he gets caught up the field, in attack, or pressing a midfielder, the Dynamo defense will have issues.