Matchday Preview 13: Sporting Kansas City vs Dynamo


Coming off of a rare losing streak at home, the Houston Dynamo hope to find a spark of life and continue a rather improbable good away from in Kansas City this Sunday.

If ponies rode men and grass ate cows,

And cats were chased into holes by the mouse...

If summer were spring and the other way round,

Then all the world would be upside down.

I feel like that song is weirdly appropriate for the Houston Dynamo at this point in the season. It's part of an old British ballad, "The World Turned Upside Down," and the lyrics above were supposedly played by the British army bands after the capitulation of Yorktown in 1781. To them, it certainly seemed as if the words had proved true. A country thought premier in the world just a few years previously had been bested by what they considered mere provincials, men that had been their own colonists (and worse, they'd done it with the help of the French, Spanish and Dutch, not twenty years removed from those countries' last drubbing at the hands of the British).

It's a sentiment that I'm sure most Dynamo supporters would be able to echo at this point. They're currently riding streaks both home and away - but it's the reverse of what we're used to. Though they racked up successive victories in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. to move to a three match unbeaten streak on the road, they promptly returned home and dropped two - a hard fought loss to Sporting Kansas City, and a loss to New England that was much more severe than the scoreline indicated. Dynamo fans are used to losing streaks, but not at home - this is just the third time that they've lost successive home matches, and their play (and that of their opponents - but that's for another post) has led some to question the side in recent weeks.

I'm sure that five thousand miles of flying over eight days played a part in the KC loss, but the one to the Revs is somewhat mind-boggling. If they'd come out and played like they had against Kansas City and lost, that would be one thing. But between physical play, injuries, red cards and other issues, it just looked like a match that the Dynamo weren't prepared for.

So it comes time to write some very strange words - a sentence that I'm not sure I'd ever write as a Dynamo blogger. It's time to get back to our recent road form as a way to forget a poor showing at home (If you excuse me, I'm now going to go take a picture of that sentence, because who knows when I'll be inclined to write that again). This Sunday, the Dynamo travel to Kansas City, in a match that, despite the recent form of the men in orange, is still a very important Eastern Conference clash.

For his headbutt of Dimitry Imbongo, Bobby Boswell has received a two match suspension, which, when coupled with the fact that Jermaine Taylor had to be subbed off after popping his shoulder out of its socket, could make the Dynamo back line a very interesting place. Ricardo Clark filled in for about half the match after Boswell was ejected, but the fact remains that for right now, the Dynamo have one healthy center back, which was the one major concern of letting Andre Hainault walk last offseason.

Giles Barnes was back, however, and appeared to be healthy - his substitution came only after Boswell ejection forced a change of formation - and Warren Creavalle has been freed from injury. The roster has some holes, but other than the mangled back line (which will be even more mangled after this match - more on that later), there shouldn't be too many questions. Oscar Boniek Garcia, Corey Ashe and Brad Davis will want to make one last good impression for their club before they head off to national team duties, and Tally Hall will also want to show why he was awarded with a call up for later on in qualifying.

Kansas City will be at or near full strength, with only the lingering aftereffects of Matt Besler's injury a possible concern. After the match here two weekends ago, I'm sure revenge will be on many minds, but I'm not quite so sure that should be what they play for. I'm more worried about points and staying on pace with New York in the conference - if we take three out of Kansas City, all the better for us. If we can do it without three dozen fouls and Dynamo players telling "injured" players to stay down on the pitch after they try to get up, even better. Make no mistakes, I'd love to see a win - but not at the expense of dignity and style.

It's a hard place to play, but despite the side's rather poor road play historically, Kansas City is a place where the Dynamo are good at getting results away from Houston. And while the world seems to have turned upside down, and history isn't always the best way to forecast the future, it doesn't mean that it won't happen, either. Here's hoping the Dynamo manage to get it together Sunday and maybe keep their road streak alive.

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