As the Dynamo prepare to take on the Philadelphia Union in another crucial Eastern Conference match, we caught up with Eugene Rupinski from the SB Nation site Brotherly Game in order to get their thoughts about the upcoming match.
Dynamo Theory: The Philadelphia just played in the USOC final against Seattle this last Tuesday and drew the New York Red Bulls last Saturday in a league fixture. How did interim manager Jim Curtin prepare for all these games in a row and how will fatigue be a factor against a Dynamo team desperate for points?
Brotherly Game: Curtin rested a lot of the regular Starting XI against New York, and the strategy paid off to a large extent. The club was able to field arguably their best eleven players on Tuesday and came within inches of winning what was a match for the ages against the Seattle Sounders.
Saturday against Houston should see a lot of the same players that started against Seattle. The club was fortunate that the match was at home on a Tuesday, so you have no travel and three days rest. Not an ideal situation especially considering the match went 120 minutes, but it could have been worse if the match was on Wednesday or if they'd had to travel cross-country to Seattle.
DT: I mentioned how badly the Dynamo need points, but Philadelphia is currently sitting just outside of the 5th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Is this game a must-win for the Union, or is it somewhat understandable to drop points given the busy schedule?
BG: I think that every match is a must win for the Union at this point. They are out on goal differential right now, and also have played one more game than Toronto FC and Houston. That being said they're in a spot to control their own destiny, and are finally on even terms as far as games played with most of the rest of the east. I really think I will come down to the club's two matches with the Columbus Crew to close out the season. Both teams are on a dogfight for that last playoff spot, so I honk the attention of the league will be focused on that last match on October 28.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Every match is crucial, especially against conference foes such as Houston. Make no mistake, the players will come out looking to take all three points Saturday.
DT: It has been a little over a month since the last time these two clubs met which resulted in a 2-0 win at BBVA Compass Stadium for the Dynamo. Since then, the Union have been on a tear winning 3 out of their last 4 games without a loss. How can the Dynamo go into PPL Park and pickup some points against a team that hasn't lost a league game at home since May 17th?
BG: Naturally it's a cliche but the team that scores first wins most often. The Union rely heavily on the counterattack and the ability to defend a lead, so forcing them to at from behind would be optimal for the Dynamo, especially since the Union won't have completely fresh legs.
Lineup: Raïs M'Bolhi; Sheanon Williams, Carlos Valdés, Maurice Edu, Ray Gaddis; Amobi Okugo, Vincent Nogueira, Cristian Maidana, Andrew Wenger; Sebastien Le Toux, Conor Casey
Score: I think the Union will have enough about them to squeak out a 1-0 win.
For my answers to Eugene's questions, head on over to the Brotherly Game and check them out.