The Dynamo will face Real Salt Lake just off of a 1-0 result against the Columbus Crew. A one point loss is not exactly a bad thing when facing the defending eastern conference champs at home but it’s a result that the Dynamo have been seeing too much of. Real Salt Lake just got a good drubbing in LA (sound familiar?) and have been dealing with some absences of late.
Prior to the loss to the Galaxy, RSL was riding high as the only unbeaten team remaining in MLS. Their streak came to a glorious end during the 5-2 thumping but not to be overlooked are prior wins over strong sides Sporting Kansas City and the Colorado Rapids. Likely causing some of the struggles against LA were the absences of forward Joao Plata, DM Sunny Obayan, and forward Juan Manuel Martinez. Plata in particular has been a force at the top of the RSL formation, knocking in 4 goals so far this season. Notably, only two players for RSL have managed to score more than one goal so far this season.
The Dynamo trotted out an interesting lineup last week against Columbus. Equally interesting will be who Owen Coyle starts this week since even though the previous result was a loss the team wasn’t able to get much offense going after losing Tyler Deric to a red card early in the first half. However, a testament to the changes promised after Houston’s own blowout loss to LA was that the defensive strategy and play did not allow any goals. Columbus’ only score came on a PK after the red to Deric. Starting on the backline for the first time was Agus and he came through with a very, very solid performance, regularly placing himself in front of cross attempts and clearing several dangerous balls. Oscar Boniek Garcia also found himself in the starting XI on the left wing, replacing Giles Barnes who moved up to the sole forward position in place of Will Bruin. Boniek was a welcome addition who brought his familiar hard nosed style onto the pitch from the first whistle. Will these players retain their positions from the last game? Will the Dynamo continue to maintain their discipline on defense? These are questions that remain to be answered.
The goal scoring ways of a fast paced and talented attack seem to be a distant dream. Here, this week, the eighth game of the season, the Dynamo face a good team though potentially without their on field leadership. What shall we see? Progress, is what the team needs. Last week we saw coordination. This week the team needs, frankly, results. Either in the form of goals or points on the table. Going to the home field of one of the top teams in MLS seeking points will never be an easy task, but the Dynamo have the talent to do it. Do they have the gumption?