It might seem like we just did this (we did) but Saturday night's match in Kansas City is already shaping up to be a far cry from last week's Open Cup defeat in the same stadium.
The Dynamo lost the match 3-1 but cruised through the first half hour with an energetic intensity that pushed SKC onto the backfoot. Even as Luis Garrido was red carded in the 30th minute and the Dynamo settled into a counter, Will Bruin managed to put the team up in the second half before the defense fell asleep in the final twenty minutes.
Garrido has since returned to MLS play but continues to find competition for a starting spot from Nathan Sturgis, who put in a wonderful shift against the LA Galaxy last weekend. The other Honduran, Boniek Garcia, has returned to training but appears to be a few weeks away from match fitness.
Sheanon Williams also put in a solid defensive effort against LA despite having only been on the team for about a day and a half. With the returns of DaMarcus Beasley (Gold Cup) and Kofi Sarkodie (suspension), Williams will have to struggle to keep a starting spot in what is becoming a stacked Dynamo lineup.
Giles Barnes also returns from Gold Cup duty with Jamaica. The forward had a resurgent tournament, ousting the United States on a brilliant free kick before losing to Mexico in the Final. He'll find the forward position a bit crowded now that Erick Torres is working into the lineup and Bruin is on a great run of form. Owen Coyle has teased a 4-3-3 with all three forwards as a possibility, so perhaps Saturday serves as a taste for fans.
Kansas City will bring Graham Zusi back into the mix after his Gold Cup tournament and the usual suspects (Benny Feilhaber, Krisztian Nemeth, and Dom Dwyer - all of which scored on Houston during Open Cup play) will also look to have an impact. It will also be interesting to see how Dynamo captain Brad Davis, who was punched in the face by Roger Espinoza last week, responds to the Honduran throughout the night.
One final note - some of you might remember the dire state of the pitch in Kansas City last week as it was covered by divots and lumps of grass. The good news here is that that pitch is gone. The bad news is that the new one was laid yesterday so don't expect the pitch to be significantly better. For those that have dealt with injuries this year, they'll want to watch their step.