This Friday, July 4th (or Independence Day if you really love Will Smith movies), our Houston Dynamo will take on the New York Red Bulls at BBVA Compass Stadium. This game is important for a couple of reasons: 1) It's a chance to get back on track and leapfrog over the Red Bulls for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and 2) We really don't want to lose after we've all recovered from our US Men's team hangover.
The New York Red Bulls have fared well enough this season with their last league game loss coming at the end of May. This is around the same time that the Dynamo notched their last win. While the Red Bulls have managed to win one game since that time, their other two matches have been draws. The Dynamo on the other hand hasn't scored goals in their last five league matches and hasn't even managed a draw.
New York drew its last match to Toronto FC, but a win over Houston would see them be more competitive in the playoff race. Houston is on the outside looking in of that playoff race and needs a win over New York to bump them out of the final playoff spot. That won't be easy given how the Dynamo played last Sunday against Montreal, but the team did have a few positives to take away from that match notably the return of Oscar Boniek Garcia and Ricardo Clark. Dynamo beat writer Darrell Lovell also tweeted out that head coach Dominic Kinnear hoped to have Davis available for the game.
If the Dynamo wants to right the ship they'll need to find ways to score and stop being scored on. It's a tall order to prevent MLS Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips, Thierry Henry, and Tim Cahill from scoring, but they'll need to shore things up at some point if they want to contend for a playoff spot. The Dynamo will likely have to rely on their midfield to control the pace of the game and having Ricardo Clark policing the central midfield will be a huge boost for the team. The Dynamo will be without Tony Cascio, Mark Sherrod, and possibly David Horst while the Red Bulls could be without tough central midfielder Dax McCarty.
I can't think of a better time to begin winning again than on the 4th of July which is also Armed Forces Appreciation Night. The team has taken a lot of hits this season (including a 4-0 defeat at Red Bull Arena earlier this season), but it's time to give them back and return to our winning ways. Kickoff is at 7:30 PM central.