Match Preview: Houston Dynamo vs Toronto FC

Ricardo Clark, sporting concussion protection, lends his expertise against Toronto FC - Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Houston faces Toronto for the second half of a back to back home and away. After losing an early lead to fall 2-4, Houston must find a way to contain Jermain Defoe. Perhaps the home field advantage will help the defense stay sharp.

Match Preview: Houston Dynamo vs Toronto FC

This Saturday, the Houston Dynamo will face off against Toronto FC at 8:00pm at BBVA Compass Stadium. The match follows a disappointing loss against Toronto on their home turf of BMO Field.

As reported by Gribbs in the Dynamo Theory Recap, the Dynamo built an appreciative lead of 2-0 in the first half. However, they succumbed to four goals thanks to the well-rounded efforts of Jonathan Osorio, Dominic Oduro and Jermain Defoe.

Will Returning Veterans be Enough?

The loss was a particular disappointment, since the game saw the recent return of several players, some more recent than others. Captain Brad Davis, fresh from the World Cup, made his minutes count. Davis’ absence had been keenly felt since he leads the team in assists. Davis contributed both Houston goals, bumping up his season total to four. This ties him with Giles Barnes in second place, trailing Will Bruin by only two goals. Davis was not the only veteran player to be welcomed back. Boniek Garcia is also back from his World Cup tour, though he has had a couple of games to settle in. Ricardo Clark made his return, having sat out the last several weeks after suffering a concussion. The back line welcomed center back David Horst, who had been nursing an injury.

If Houston is to succeed over Toronto this week, they will have to be wary of counter attacks. Jermain Defoe was the spearhead of repeated attacks, netting a brace and an assist against Houston. He may very well have scored a hat trick, had Tally Hall not tipped the ball over the crossbar during the first half. Containing Defoe must take top priority for the Dynamo. Ricardo Clark’s expertise in the midfield will prove invaluable.

Return of Angry Ashe?

Corey Ashe, suffering from a knee effusion, will prove to be the wildcard of the game. The left defensive wing’s explosive speed has always been a valuable asset for the team. Warren Creavalle filled in for Ashe against Toronto and has often made defensive substitutions when needed. However, Creavalle is much more suited for midfield, where he logged many hours last season. If Ashe can return to square off against Toronto, this will put Houston’s back line in a much more advantageous position to deal with the likes of Defoe and Michael Bradley.

For those who enjoy a game with numerous warnings issued, Saturday’s game will be one to watch. The referee will be Juan Guzman, who awards an average of 4.1 yellow cards per game. Center back Jermaine Taylor leads the Dynamo with six yellow cards and earned a caution from Toledo during the last match.

Houston’s next match will be against Aston Villa as a part of the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup. The match will take place Saturday, July 26, at 8:00pm.

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