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Matchday Preview 9: Galaxy vs Dynamo

This Sunday night, the Dynamo travel to the Home Depot Center in an MLS Cup final rematch against the LA Galaxy. It's the first match in a tough little stretch, but will the Dynamo be able to start off on the right foot?


I guess with both records firmly in our grasp, we can stop focusing on them as much. Sunday afternoon, the Houston Dynamo and Colorado Rapids played to a 1-1 draw, extending the Dynamo's unbeaten streak at home to 36 matches in all competitions (30 in the regular season). The Rapids' Drew Moor got a goal on a set piece in first half stoppage time, but Giles Barnes equalized on a Moffat-esque shot from the top of the box. Kofi Sarkodie had a header that saved a goal and both sides had several shots off the woodwork to keep the scoreline level.

With the streak defended, the Dynamo now face one of the more cluttered parts of the season: a stretch of three matches in eight days, including a cross country plane trip after Sunday's fixture. While all three matches are important, it's only the first we need to concern ourselves with at the moment. It'll be an absurdly late start (10pm Central), but Cinco de Mayo will see the Dynamo in a MLS Cup final rematch with the LA Galaxy at the Home Depot Center.

I think everyone who reads this blog remembers what happened the last time these two teams met, so I won't rehash that. Besides, it's a vastly different season. Gone are familiar faces on both sides - Edson Buddle, Macoumba Kandji, Andre Hainault, David Beckham and others - but if anything, the two sides have picked up exactly where they left off last season. The teams sit fourth and fifth in the table (both on fourteen points) and it doesn't seem like the offseason changes have impacted either side adversely.

The Galaxy are coming off a 2-0 win in Salt Lake City - the result coming without Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, Carlo Cudicini and Todd Dunivant. Coach Bruce Arena says they all could return to the fold this weekend, meaning the Dynamo will more than likely get a Galaxy side at (or close to) full strength. The same cannot be said for the men in orange, however. Brad Davis will be out following his red card Sunday afternoon, and there's still no word on the status of either Tyler Deric or Omar Cummings - nor has there been an update on the status of Adam Moffat, though we should see Jermaine Taylor back after his suspension.

Luckily for the Dynamo, many of the players ordinarily left out of the starting XI have already had chances to prove themselves this season. More often than not, Eric Brunner has slotted into the back line nicely, and offseason acquisition Andrew Driver has had his share of brilliant play at times - and you would think that Driver will be the one to get the nod to replace Davis in the midfield.

And make no doubt, the Dynamo might not have all of their hands available - but they're going to need all hands on deck for this. The Galaxy are hot at the moment, and they'll be playing at home. The Dynamo got part of the job done the week before last when they went into Toronto and salvaged a point, but they still haven't won on the road this season - and history in the Home Depot Center isn't really on their side.

It may be only May, but this is already a titanic match between two sides trying to keep pace with their respective conference leaders. A result of any kind would go a long way - towards the standings, towards the Dynamo's confidence, and towards a successful tough stretch that will see the Dynamo play in LA on Sunday, DC on Wednesday, and at home against SKC in a week. While I wouldn't presume to tell you how you should celebrate Cinco de Mayo, I will say that staying sober and awake enough to catch this match would be a good way to end the day. It's up to the Dynamo to reward those of us who watch, and it's my sincere hope they'll do exactly that.