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Houston Dynamo at Columbus Crew Preview: Dynamo Travel to Face Uncertain Foe

The Dynamo have a match against the reigning eastern conference champions, but is that the only battle they face?

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The Dynamo head back on the road a week after a disastrous loss to LA. Columbus is the destination for this Saturday’s match against the 2015 MLS Cup runner up Columbus Crew SC. Columbus is currently sitting in 9th place in the East and searching for some answers of its own.

The opponents this week are struggling mightily as they try to defend their Eastern Conference title from a year ago and have only put the ball in the net 6 times this season, 3 of which came in their most recent outing against NYCFC. The talented grouping of Kei Kamara, Federico Higuain, Ethan Finlay, Justin Meram and Tony Tchani last year led the way for an attack that managed to score near tops in the league. Though the Crew are currently wallowing near the bottom of the eastern conference there's no reason to think they will stay down for long.

Columbus Who?

For Houston fans this match, and this week, it's all about the Dynamo. The identity of the opponent seems a little unimportant after so many disappointing results the past month. So let’s focus on the Dynamo. Yes, the club got handled last week. Yes they’ve given up goals they probably shouldn’t have several times this season. You don’t have to go any further than the comments section here on the DT blog to catch all the teeth gnashing and doom & gloom talk. Okay, so, we’re not that good…right now. This team has seen its weakness’ turn from cracks into gaping fissures in just a few weeks. Offense, defense, passing, strategy, awareness, coordination, mindset, and well you probably get the point. But it’s probably important to remember that we’re still only 6 games into the 2016 season. Lost in the scree is the fact that this team has also looked extremely good as well. And not in isolated moments either. In fact for whole games. And yes also for just one half of a game, and also for less than that. But they have played well.

Changes Possible in The Line-up

Postgame last week Owen Coyle stated that changes are needed. The coach has several rostered players who have yet to see the field and still others who could be in line for increased minutes. Both Sheanon Williams and Tyler Deric were reported to be back in full training and possibly game ready after injuries. If it’s time for a change then why not start in the back? The defense has been plagued with a lack of coordination and mistakes and bringing last year’s starters into the lineup could help sort those issues out. In the midfield it’s actually a bit harder to pinpoint where a change is needed. But every Dynamo fan knows what the team has available in Oscar Boniek Garcia, who has been coming off the bench in most instances this year. When he steps on the field he certainly creates a spark and is a capable two-way player. Up top stands Will Bruin, who has gone mysteriously quiet after 3 goals in the first three games. It will be curious to see if Coyle makes a change here. Bruin is no doubt the team’s lead forward, but Cubo Torres was brought in to provide another consistent scoring threat. Unfortunately despite his talent he has yet to find the net while wearing orange. That’s 377 minutes without a goal. That’s a lot. As a point of reference Bruin typically would have scored 2 goals given that time on the field. Cubo, though, has had only 3 starts. Is it time to give him another chance?

Could Coyle have been alluding to other changes in his post-game remarks? Positional switches? Formation changes? We certainly won’t know until they take the field on Saturday, but one thing we can know for sure. Change doesn’t necessarily equate to success right away. It takes time to gel and with the match being hosted in a potentially hostile road environment it makes the going even tougher. Regardless of who is on the pitch the team needs to rely on the strength of its midfield, sort out the responsibilities and eliminate the sloppiness on defense, and focus on improving the service of balls into the box so that the team can again turn chances into goals. Results may not be found in points in this match but rather in performance.