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Dynamo looking to get on track against San Jose

Tuesday brings the return of Dominic Kinnear with his San Jose Earthquakes while the Dynamo look to put their memories of the last two matches to rest.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Houston welcomes back Dominic Kinnear on Tuesday while dealing with the haunting memories of Kevin Stott's playing cards, Benny Feilhaber's wonder-strike, and the back of Fabian Castillo's jersey. The best soccer players are the ones with short memories for the bad moments and Tuesday provides a quick turnaround to make better ones. San Jose poses one or two unique issues that a Houston defense, still reeling from a week of sour play, will need to focus on if the Dynamo attack hopes to have a chance.

Absences

Boniek Garcia saw action against Dallas last Friday and Nathan Sturgis may not be ready to go after dislocating his shoulder during the match.

San Jose has been battling injuries but, before embarking on this three-game road trip, they've seen Chris Wondolowski and defender Jordan Stewart return to action. Former Dynamo rookie Mark Sherrod, defender Shaun Francis, midfielder Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi, and all-around MLS villain Steven Lenhart remain out on long-term injuries.

Key Players - San Jose

Wondolowski is the easy target for San Jose. With 4 goals to his name in 8 matches, Wondo's predatory instinct in the face of goal is a headache for defenders. Newcomer Innocent Emeghara provides an excellent balance to Wondo's adept positioning by offering technical skill through his dribbling to pressure the defense. Two weeks ago, the Dynamo defense seemed as if they'd be up for the challenge of a competent tandem. Now, after conceding eight goals in the last two home matches, the Houston back line will have to figure a way to neutralize Wondo's off-the-ball runs while dealing with the remnants of the last week.

San Jose's defense includes long-time MLS veteran, Marvell Wynne. Stocky and deceptively quick, Wynne provides years of experience and considerable muscle that Giles Barnes may not be able to deal with. The solution for whoever stares down Wynne is likely not to go one-on-one, but rather to send a quick pass inward and nerf his influence on the game.

Cordell Cato is also a player that has been asked to put in the occasional defensive shift amid an injured back line. Cato has performed ably (he is the best defender per 90, according to Squawka) but his penchant for joining in the attack could provide Houston's counter-heavy offense the best opportunity to face the least amount of Quakes when running at goal.

Short-term Memory

Heading into the April 25th match against Sporting Kansas City, the Dynamo stood tied for first with RBNY in goals conceded. Even as the attack sputtered game-after-game, fans could still gloat about the structured defense. Two games later, the Dynamo are tied for 17th in goals conceded on the backs of their two lackluster performances at home.

The Dallas match is tough to swallow but, if the Dynamo can erase those memories, Tuesday provides a quick chance at making right. The Earthquakes are not unlike Dallas and pose many of the same problems so it will be curious to see how head coach Owen Coyle approaches his lineup after the recent back-to-back home matches. Coyle has yet to be faced with lineup decisions after such a comprehensive loss and his response will give fans their first clue on his approach to correcting those errors.

This match should signal the return of Luis Garrido to the starting lineup, following Sturgis' shoulder injury. A shuffling along the right side (Alex Lopez and Will Bruin have capably started the previous two matches there) could provide a boost in the counter-attack where Giles Barnes has carried the goal tallies. Or, even still, Coyle could opt to do nothing in a show of trust in his formation. Swapping out normally competent defenders seems a bit of an overreaction but there may need to be a larger emphasis on player matchups designed to neutralize specific players.

The Dynamo host San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday, May 5th, at BBVA Compass Stadium. The match can be seen at 7:30PM on ROOT Sports and heard on 1560AM/850AM. Tickets are still available at HoustonDynamo.com.