The Houston Dynamo are traveling to Orlando to face second year club Orlando City SC. In the only previous match-up between these two clubs Orlando City came away with a 1-0 win in Houston. OCSC is now trying to keep their heads above water after the departure of winger Adrian Winter. They’re fighting for respectability in the east and hosting a reinvigorated Dynamo team.
Late last week the OCSC front office announced the mutual termination of Adrian Winter’s services with the club. And then they played Dallas and got blasted 4-0. Ok so, not necessarily a direct correlation there. But it’s possible they are reeling from the loss of Winter, a player who has had a strong positive effect during his short stay with Orlando. His replacement in Frisco was left back Brek Shea who typically wouldn’t be considered much of a downgrade. But Shea has struggled a bit this season which has been highlighted by a missed call-up to the USMNT for the recently concluded Copa América Centenario. Add in that despite quality play of OCSC star Kaká, he’s been through some injury struggles and missed several games so it’s easy to see why the up and down season for Orlando could continue.
Houston’s future, on the other hand, is becoming clearer. The club has wins in their last two outings vs. SKC (US Open Cup) and the Philadelphia Union, their first against MLS level teams since May 15. Think about that for a second. We’ve discussed the formation and how it is benefiting the club tremendously. The team is pushing up the field on the attack with ease, and while they’re still struggling to convert at a decent clip it gives a sense of what they could be capable of. The resurgent play of Warner and Boniek is also adding an extra dimension. Ahead of the coming match-up with Orlando the team has a surplus of midfielders it would seem, even despite the announced departure of Leonel Miranda. With the changes that OCSC is seeing on their left side it will be interesting to see how the Dynamo handle the play on their right with Wenger, Barnes and Anibaba/Williams.
Despite all the positives the Dynamo still lack a road win and remain at the bottom of the western conference. Considering that trips to LA, Salt Lake, Seattle and Denver lay ahead this match with Orlando is shaping up to be the easiest chance to get the win and the three points the team needs. The Dynamo don’t need to make statements with every outing, they just need constant small improvements. Any steps in the right direction are good ones, even if they are just baby steps.