The perception among many fans is that Houston Dynamo doesn't take the Open Cup seriously. Each year, Dominic Kinnear would tinker lineups filled with youth and inexperience. Typically, that meant the Dynamo could easily dispatch a lower division side but would then falter in the face of MLS competition. Owen Coyle may have signaled many new beginnings for the Dynamo but fans hoping for first-team treatment in the Open Cup may be disappointed Wednesday night.
Peering into Coyle's previous experiences in domestic cups (like Bolton's FA Cup runs), it appears clear that Coyle sees these matches (alike many other MLS coaches) as an opportunity to reward hard-working second and third string players with a heavy share of game minutes. Coupled with the losses of the Jamaican duo of Giles Barnes and Jermaine Taylor, Coyle will have to resort to clever starting lineups in order to advance to the next round.
The mid-table Austin Aztex, led by coach and ex-Dynamo Paul Dalglish, have capped off a three-game road spell since claiming victory over the NASL San Antonio Scorpions in the last Open Cup round. During that time, the Aztex's stadium saw significant damage during the historic early June rainfall and forced the team to make alternate arrangements for the remainder of the season.
Austin will enter this match riding the performances of forward Kris Tyrpak, no stranger to MLS competition. Tyrpak was drafted by Chivas USA in 2014 and was unable to establish with an MLS club following the folding of the Los Angeles franchise. Since signing with Austin in March, Tyrpak has notched 6 goals this season, on pace for a personal best.
Houston's lineup will be unpredictable, if nothing else. Aside from the Jamaicans on Copa America duty, Boniek Garcia picked up an injury in a friendly versus Brazil and should remain out the rest of the week. Brad Davis continues to nurse a knee bruise and won't be seeing the pitch either. That should open up room for the likes of Alex Lopez, Leonel Miranda, and Rob Lovejoy to name a few. Defensively, fans could see the return of Kofi Sarkodie or even Corey Ashe. Others, like Chandler Hoffman and Zach Steinberger, are candidates for minutes, as well.
These two teams had met just a few months ago in preseason preparations. In that match, held at the Houston Amateur Sports Park, Austin Aztex proved too much to handle in a 1-0 victory over a Dynamo lineup consisting of primarily first string players. With both teams reaching midseason, fitness should certainly be less of an issue and make for a more competitive match.
The Dynamo and Austin face off in BBVA Compass Stadium on Wednesday night at 7:30PM. That match should have broadcast streams available on Houston Dynamo's website but will not have a television broadcast. Stay tuned to the @DynamoTheory Twitter for updated information on stream availability.