The Dynamo will be back at home this Saturday to face off against the Montreal Impact. The Dynamo are coming off a 3-1 win at Kansas City and are looking to string together some wins for a playoff push. The Dynamo won't have it easy as they'll be without a number of key players including starting goalkeeper Tally Hall and scoring leader Will Bruin among others.
We talked with Sofiane Benzaza over at Mount Royal Soccer to gain some perspective ahead of the upcoming Eastern Conference clash.
Dynamo Theory: The Dynamo and the Impact have each exchanged 3 points with the other this year. The last match these two played ended with a 3-0 victory for Montreal at Stade Saputo at the end of June. What's changed for the Impact since that bludgeoning a few months ago?
Mount Royal Soccer: The team has gone into yet another free-fall and lost 7 games in row. Any hopes to be part of a playoff are almost gone and the club was never able to take advantage of any positive momentum it had during the season. Sporting director Nick de Santis has been relieved of his duties but is still with the club and Frank Klopas has now full control of the recruitment.
Ignacio Piatti has finally joined the team as a Designated Player and has had a big impact already with 2 goals against the Columbus Crew. But outside of that, it has been a pretty bleak season.
Is it 2015 yet?
DT: Both the Dynamo and the Impact share something in common: they give up too many goals. Actually, it's surprising how similar as both teams are tied for the 2nd worst goal differential in MLS. How are the Impact looking to improve this situation and is the coaching staff and front office thinking about this as an immediate issue or a down the road issue?
MRS: I am not really sure what the plan is. I sincerely do not see any moves that were made to make the defensive side of things better. The defenders are not that bad but not great and I don't believe in the Impact's midfield capacity to shutdown other teams on a regular basis.
The club needs to establish an identity on the pitch and start getting key pieces as early as possible during the off-season and make sure it gets the right piece.
DT: If you haven't heard, the Dynamo recently lost starting goalkeeper Tally Hall to an ACL injury and defender Kofi Sarkodie will be serving his suspension for yellow card accumulation. Montreal is capable of getting goals from a lot of different players. Who in particular should the Dynamo be wary of and how can they shut them down with a new keeper and a makeshift (and relatively leaky) defense?
MRS: With quite a few absentees with the Canadian National Team + suspensions/injuries, Ignacio Piatti continues to be the biggest threat out there. There is a strong offensive potential with Di Vaio and Duka playing with Piatti while Andres Romero should be the trigger man to create some magic on the wings.
Predicted lineup: Bush - Miller, Ferrari, Lefevre, Krol - Felipe, Mallace - Romero, Duka, Piatti - Di Vaio
Score: 3-1 Houston
For my answers to Sofiane's questions, head over to Mount Royal Soccer to check them out.