It’s a busy week for Sporting Kansas City. After beating expansion side Austin FC 2-1 at home on Sunday night, SKC make the trip down south to face a more established Texas side in the Houston Dynamo FC.
We reached out to our friends (enemies?) at Dynamo Theory to learn a bit more about our foes ahead of the match, and Dustyn Richardson was kind enough to lend us his wisdom.
Houston always gave Sporting KC fits in years past due to their speed. With winger Alberth Elis no longer in the picture, who is Houston’s primary offensive weapon and do they have the speed they used to?
Former Sporting KC man Tyler Pasher has been a revelation for the Dynamo so far this season on the wing. He missed Saturday’s Texas Derby with an injury, but Tab Ramos has suggested he will be available against SKC. I would look for the Canadian to come off the bench, with Fafa Picault and Memo Rodriguez likely on the wings. Picault has loads of pace to make up for the speed Elis had, but his other abilities aren’t as refined as La Panterita.
This is Tab Ramos’ second full season with Houston, though 2020 was anything but normal. What sort of system has Ramos implemented in Houston that SKC will likely have to face?
Ramos has used a 4-3-3 for the most part with a pressing style. There are times where we will load the midfield up with defensive players like Derrick Jones, Matias Vera, and Darwin Ceren and try to beat teams on the counter. The Dynamo play a lot of long balls out of the back, especially from goalkeeper Marko Maric, and try to catch teams with the pace of the Houston attack. With the offensive weapons Sporting KC has, I would not be surprised to see Ramos put out a very defensive lineup to try and hold SKC off the scoresheet.
The Dynamo have only lost three of their last 16 home matches (W7, D6) dating back to mid-August 2019. What is it about BBVA Compass Stadium that makes it so difficult for opposing teams to come in and get a victory?
It’s very hot. Not just in Houston, but the stadium is an oven. There is not a lot of air flow and it catches visiting teams off guard when they get thrown into that heat and humidity for 90 minutes. That coupled with the Dynamo running and pressing teams, it makes for an unpleasant experience for guests. It’s rained at the first two Dynamo home games this season and while there is rain in the forecast Wednesday as well, it looks like it will be out of the picture by the evening. Unfortunately for the Dynamo, that rain is being ushered in by a cool front that should keep things pleasant weather-wise. For this trip, at least, Sporting should have a very big advantage in not having to play in the 95 degree heat with 98% humidity.
A big thanks to Dustyn for answering our questions. Here are our answers to their questions.