The Houston Dynamo are in a bit of a free fall as they only have 1 win (1 very satisfying win over FC Dallas I'll add) on the season and currently sit in last place of Major League Soccer. Last week the Dynamo fell 2-1 to Real Salt Lake despite holding a 1-0 lead over the home team. With the team set to play Sporting Kansas City, there are plenty of reasons for this game to be a must win. 1) We need the points. 2) Last place sucks. 3) The game is a rivalry match.
In our preview of the match we discuss Brad Davis's homecoming, among other things, but we wanted to know more about our rival this week so we spoke with Cody Bradley of the Blue Testament in order to gain insight about Sporting Kansas City.
Dynamo Theory: This is the 2nd year in a row that Sporting Kansas City have fallen out of the MLS Cup Playoffs in the Knock Out Stage following their 2013 MLS Cup victory. What would be considered a successful year and what would be a down year?
The Blue Testament: It's interesting you ask that because this was a bit of a discussion in the off season. Most people would call last year a success because Sporting KC won the US Open Cup again. On the other hand, most people would call last year a down year. They were a Supporter's Shield favorite fairly late in the season but tumbled to the final wildcard spot, falling to Portland.
To answer your question I think you can use both of those as benchmarks. The goal of this team is to win trophies. So if they do that, no matter the trophy, you have to call that a success. But if they go another season without bringing a playoff game to Children's Mercy Park, it will definitely be a down year.
DT: One of the big MLS offseason moves this year was seeing Brad Davis traded to SKC. Davis has been a huge part of the Dynamo organization since he first arrived here, but his salary and increasing limitations due to age made him a cap-casualty. How has he fit in with SKC?
TBT: Brad has fit in VERY nicely. He began the season recovering from an injury and slowly worked his way into Vermes' squad as a winger. He's got 2 goals so far and that left foot is as dangerous as ever. The goals have directly led to 4 points for KC and they were both curling golazos into the side netting. He has brought another veteran presence to the locker room and immediately became a leader.
To be specific, Davis is a good match for Graham Zusi. Neither wants to be restricted to one side and they switch fields pretty frequently which can throw a defense a curve ball multiple times a game. Moreover, Davis and Dwyer seem to have developed a bit of a rapport which should be good for a multiple goals this season.
The guy knows what it takes to win in this league and he's proven he's got plenty of tricks left. The real question is if he will celebrate with the Roadron after he scores this weekend... ;)
DT: Last year's Dynamo vs. Sporting KC games were incredibly emotional and physical games for both sides which included the Roger Espinoza/Brad Davis incident, a few red cards, and plenty of other memorable moments. What is it about this rivalry that creates these sparks on the field?
TBT: I think it is a bit of a perfect storm with these guys. The inherent regional rivalry laid a solid base, of course. But then the three year streak from 11'-13' when they played each other in the playoffs with everything on the line is what really got the flames going. After the first two years of being eliminated by Houston, 2013 was when it really became as heated as ever. Sporting KC was angry and just simply proved that nobody, including the Dynamo, was going to stop them on the way to that MLS Cup. But beyond all of that, both squads are filled with big personalities. That alone is a bad combination. They are just simply destined to clash, I tell you.
I really do love this rivalry even though the games are often so ugly. I think the Brad Davis factor is going to add some gas to things this year as well!
Vermes has been tinkering so much it is hard to say, but I'll go with last week's XI:
Tim Melia, Matt Besler, Ike Opara, Nuno Coelho, Seth Sinovic, Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Jimmy Medranda, Brad Davis, Dom Dwyer
Predicted Outcome: Sporting Kansas City 3 - 2 Houston Dynamo
For my answers to Cody's questions please check them out at the Blue Testament!