Well, the Houston Dynamo are going to Washington but I couldn't resist shoehorning that headline in this season.
It's been a tough week for Dynamo fans in the wake of last weekend's home debacle against the Columbus Crew. Virtually all the positives energy and hopes for the season have drained away after Houston resumed their struggles after a one-week reprieve thanks to Chivas USA. Even during the seven match win less streak that proceeded that victory, the Dynamo never looked as bad as they did against the Crew and for the first time that anyone I've talked with can remember, fans streamed out of Robertson Stadium before the final whistle; and not just you're typical dedicated Dynamo fan, people from the supporters groups were leaving too. The ones that remained showered boos down on the team.
So in the wake of that, the team now looks to regroup with a trip to face DC United and their point stealing diving master Charlie Davies. DC hasn't been unbeatable at home (2-2-3) but Houston hasn't won a game on the road this season so we'll avoid trying to predict anything based on that data.
This game is important for playoff positioning, much like the Crew game was, a win could keep Houston right in the Eastern Conference mix but a loss, combined with a win for Chicago would drop the Dynamo to sixth.
Je-Vaughan Watson and Jermaine Taylor are back from national team duty so the roster is in good shape for the trip. There's been calls for Taylor to replace Bobby Boswell in the defense after Boswell has made positional errors in the past few games that have led to goals. I for one would like to see the change, but I still expect to see Boswell in the starting lineup on Saturday. Let's be honest though, defense really isn't the problem.
The Dynamo can't score goals or create dangerous chances except of set pieces. This team's attack is so one-dimensional right now that if you stand at just the right angle, it appears not to exist. Brian Ching surely has to start tomorrow and either Will Bruin or Cam Weaver needs to find the scoring touch again. More importantly, the midfield play needs to improve. Lovel Palmer will be out, serving the mandatory one-game suspension for his red card in the Crew match, so it will be interesting to see who Kinnear deploys in the defensive mid role. Geoff Cameron probably makes the most sense with Je-Vaughn Watson moving in to the CAM role, but every time I think a positional adjustment makes sense, Kinnear does something completely different.
In their first meeting at Robertson Stadium earlier in the season, the Dynamo dismantled the United defense en route to a 4-1 victory. DC has improved since that match so I it certainly won't be such easy pickings tomorrow.
If the Dynamo can find some offense, they can win this match, if not another road draw is the best that can hope for and a loss is real possibility.
- The Dynamo have won four consecutive games against D.C. United, averaging 3.25 goals per game in the process. That streak includes a 3-1 win at RFK Stadium on Sept. 25, 2010. D.C.'s last win over Houston came on April 4, 2009.
- Dynamo forward Brian Ching is the all-time scoring leader in the series between the teams with six goals in 11 games, including the MLS Goal of the Year in 2006 and a SuperLiga game-winner in 2007. Ching scored goals against D.C. each season from 2006-09 and assisted on one last year.
- Houston midfielder Brad Davis leads Major League Soccer with nine assists on the season and is three assists away from tying his career high of 12, a total he reached in both 2009 and 2010. Davis has been named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week five times, more than any other player.
- Forward Will Bruin has set Dynamo rookie records by appearing in 16 games, passing Stuart Holden (13 in 2006), and making 15 starts, passing Geoff Cameron (8 in 2008). Bruin also ranks second in MLS in shots on goal with 18 and fourth in total shots with 39. Bruin netted a hat trick in his last outing against D.C. United on April 29 in Houston's 4-1 win.
- Houston welcomes back Jamaican national team members Jermaine Taylor and Je-Vaughn Watson for Saturday's match, which will be played in the same stadium in which Jamaica was eliminated from the Gold Cup on Sunday. Taylor (4 starts) and Watson (3 games, 1 start) were regulars in the tournament.
- Last Saturday, the Dynamo's Brad Davis became the 50th player in MLS history to make his 200th start in regular season play. Davis currently ranks 13th in MLS history in regular season assists with 73. In both categories, the leader is current Houston assistant coach Steve Ralston, with 372 regular season starts and 135 regular season assists.
- Another Houston player also reached a milestone last Saturday, as forward Brian Ching made his 150th career appearance for the Dynamo in all competitions. Defender Corey Ashe can become the fifth player to reach that mark if he plays on Saturday.