HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 20: Goalkeeper Tally Hall #1 of the Houston Dynamo makes a save against Toronto FC at BBVA Compass Stadium on June 20, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
The Dynamo return home pinking their wounds from a 4-2 thrashing at the hands of the Montreal Impact last weekend. It was a bad end to a rough week that saw Houston nearly suffer their first defeat at BBVA Compass Stadium to one of the worst teams in the league (though to be fair, Toronto FC is clearly improving). That's done, points have been lost, time to move forward.
This weekend's Eastern Conference match-up against the Philadelphia Union is a big match in my eyes. After a bumpy week that still left the Dynamo in a playoff spot, I think it's important for the team to bounce back against the Union. It's time to get the defense in order and playing up to the level the offense has been at of late. Fortunately, help is on the way in the form of a healthy Jermaine Taylor. In addition, there are reinforcements as well!
Boniek Garcia has joined the team and is available to play this weekend. He'll probably feature in a substitute roll as he continues to acclimate, but just having a fresh face in training has to help buoy some spirits. Kinnear finally has a true right side winger at his disposal and just as Luiz Camargo helped boost the Dynamo last year, I think Boniek is going to do the same this season. It may not happen Saturday, but over the course of the coming weeks the team should improve in large part due to Boniek's arrival.
Of course, the spectre of Geoff Cameron leaving is still there but according to the team, according to league rules should Cameron move on, the team would get 2/3 of the transfer fee since he was a SuperDraft pick with over 3 years of experience. That could be a huge financial boost for the club and allow them to seek out a replacement for Cameron and perhaps some other options for Dom's metaphorical toolbox (not I'm not calling the players tools).
We will worry about that if/when it happens.
For now, Cameron is here and it's his job along with his defensive sidekicks to get things together against the Union. We're quickly running out of time for bad results to be tossed aside due to the playoff system and as we all know, the better you do at home, the more wiggle room you have with your road results.
The Union for their part won't be a pushover. Since the departure of Piotr Nowak, the Union have looked better and were especially impressive in their 4-0 demolition of Sporting Kansas City last week. The young roster has confidence and it'll be the task of the Dynamo to remind them who the big dog on the Eastern Conference block is...assuming this team is still a big dog on the block.
I see this as a pivotal match in the Dynamo's season. After all the tumult last week, a first loss at home combined with another poor defensive showing could seriously damage morale, at least in the fan base, and start to force us to ask questions about the makeup of this team yet again. Not that I'll fall in to the trap I did last season with underestimating the Dynamo's resolve, but we'll have to at least dip a toe in the water and get a feel for the temperature of things, so to speak.
Simply put, this one really matters because it could set the tone for the rest of the season or cause more doubt and concern about where this team is going.
I'm looking for the Dynamo to come out strong on Saturday and get back to the physical, defensively sound play that we're used to. If we see something else...well, lets just wait and see.
Predicated Lineup: Hall; Ashe, Cameron, Boswell, Taylor; Sturgis, Clark, Camargo, Davis; Bruin, Ching
Predicated Score: 2-1 Dynamo. I'm real tempted to pick the Union to win this one, but I'll go against my gut and try to create some positive mojo.