The Houston Dynamo are hoping to bounce back after a stoppage time goal by the New England Revolution which denied the club of its first league victory of 2016 on opening weekend. While the Dynamo showed some of their defensive slips in their previous match, they also demonstrated their new offensive strengths in their new 4-2-3-1 formation. They'll be forced to hone their slips and utilize their strengths a quality FC Dallas club that bested them in all 3 meetings last season.
In our preview of the match we discussed injuries that impact both sides and early result implications, but we wanted to learn a bit more about our in-state rival so we spoke with Drew Epperley of Big D Soccer to gain more perspective about how the match may unfold.
Dynamo Theory: FC Dallas was tied for the most points in the league last year and nearly made it to the MLS Cup after falling to eventual MLS Cup champions the Portland Timbers. Expectations have to be pretty high for what this club can accomplish. What is considered an acceptable season, and what isn't?
Big D Soccer: An acceptable season may depend on who you ask but I would say the obvious answer is to win some silverware. The team was super close last year to bringing home the club's first hardware since the 90s. Fans can sense that this team is even closer this year with the way some of the new players looked last week. As usual with any team in this league it will come down to staying healthy for the long haul and not going through any long periods of poor play.
DT: Fabian Castillo was a Dynamo Decimator last season notching 2 goals and 2 assists against Houston in just 3 games. Castillo suffered an unfortunate injury in week 1. What is his status, and if he isn't good to go, who will step up to fill Castillo's place?
BDS: After the win on Sunday he was labeled to have an adductor injury that could keep him out upwards of a couple weeks. On Tuesday, both he and Oscar Pareja said that the injury wasn't nearly as bad as it looked and that he could be available for this weekend. I would imagine given that it is week two in the season that Pareja will play it safe and rest him for a couple weeks regardless to avoid any long term injury for him.
As to who will step up in his place, FCD has plenty of options there with Mauro Rosales as a potential replacement on the wing or former Rookie of the Year Tesho Akindele.
DT: Last year the Dynamo did not show well against FC Dallas in their renewed rivalry since Houston's relocation back to the Western Conference. How is this rivalry viewed in Dallas? Is there another club that has developed intense outings with FCD?
BDS: This is still the rivalry for Dallas fans. I think for many of us though we wish the first meeting wasn't so early in the season. Outside of Houston, I would say rivalries with clubs like Vancouver and Kansas City have picked up in recent years.
Projected Lineup: Jesse Gonzalez, Atiba Harris, Walker Zimmerman, Matt Hedges, Maynor Figureroa, Kellyn Acosta, Carlos Gruezo, Tesho Akindele, Mauro Diaz, Michael Barrios, Maximiliano Urruti
For my answers to Drew's questions, check them out at Big D Soccer, and as always, please be respectful.