Mar 11, 2012; Carson, CA, USA; Houston Dynamo celebrate after a goal by Houston Dynamo defenseman Andre Hainault (31) during the game against the Chivas USA during the second half at the Home Depot Center. The Houston Dynamo defeat Chivas USA 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE
It's only been three weeks since the Dynamo last played an MLS match, but it feels like a month. Considering the season just started and the fact we're still a month (a little less technically) from the home opener probably contributes to the gap feeling a lot worse.
It's been a tumultuous few weeks though for the Dynamo despite not being on the field. Colin Clark is suspended for three matches after his actions in the match against Seattle. Adam Moffat was suspended one match for a hard tackle on Osvaldo Alonso and to top things off, Brad Davis is expected to miss the match with a calf injury. Oh yeah, the Dynamo's new 3rd jersey leaked and it's generic and a bit ugly...but enough of that.
With so many starters in the midfield missing, the key to Sunday's match will likely come down to the defense. Fortunately, that's the Dynamo's strongest asset at the moment, but the Fire will still give them a good test. Speedster Dominic Oduro, who has figured out how to actually put the ball in the net ever since leaving Houston, will test Corey Ashe on the left side, while Bobby Boswell and Geoff Cameron will have to keep Sebastián Grazzini and Marco Pappa under control.
Scoring goals would be a plus as well, but it could be a bit more difficult with Davis missing. The Dynamo were already struggling to score with him in the lineup, so whomever replaces him (Alex Dixon is my hope) will have some big shoes to fill. The attack should be boosted by the return of Luiz Camargo who appears ready to return to the lineup after struggling with fitness early in the season following a summer (in Brazil, winter here) car accident. Je-Vaughn Watson will move to the right side.
The big question becomes will Brian Ching and Will Bruin remain as the starting combination up top. While we all subscribe to the "In Dom We Trust" philosophy, it's becoming evident that the similar styles of the Dynamo's two big strikers may not be the best choice. Starting the match with some speed from Calen Carr or Macoumba Kandji might be a good change and allow the Dynamo to stretch the Fire defense a bit more.
This is also the first of five straight matches against Eastern Conference opponents, so this will be a great chance for the Dynamo to pick up some early season points and put themselves in a strong position for the inevitable playoff push later in the season.
What do you expect from the match and what lineup changes would you like to see with the injury and suspensions?