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Three keys for the Dynamo against Orlando City

Against a defeated Orlando City side, the Dynamo should be able to nab the full three points.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo were the first MLS club to fire their coach this season, and Orlando City became the second on Wednesday when they let go of long-time manager Adrian Heath. Those two teams will meet on Friday in Orlando's first match since the firing, and judging from their horrific performance at FC Dallas on Monday, it likely won't be good for OCSC. This is a great opportunity for the Dynamo to grab three road points.

It has yet to be determined whether the Lions have a Wade Barrett lurking behind Heath, but even if they do, it will take time to rebuild the defensive mess that they are at the current moment.

So this shouldn't be a tough one for the Dynamo.

1. Earn set pieces

I usually have something more tactical as my first key than simply "earn set pieces," but this is necessitated by Orlando's horrific defending of them in their 4-0 loss on the Fourth of July.

They gave up two goals off restarts against FCD, and easily could have given up more if not for a couple lucky misses and Joe Bendik saves. It got so bad that Dallas center back Walker Zimmerman attempted a bicycle kick and actually managed to get it on target. Mauro Diaz had a field day sending balls into the box, as Orlando had no semblance of a marking system and didn't make any sort of effort in tracking runners.

Center back David Mateos was particularly bad. He clearly wasn't putting in any effort and it showed, as he allowed a number of runners to go unmarked. The former Real Madrid defender(!!) was at fault for two of the goals, including Zimmerman's:

With the height the Dynamo have, they should definitely be able to take advantage of this. David Horst and Raul Rodriguez will likely be going forward on dead-ball opportunities, and with Cristian Maidana's delivery (if he starts), I wouldn't bet against them getting one or two off set pieces.

2. Attack down the left side

The Dynamo's ability to overload the left side of the field has been made clear over the past couple of weeks. They focus on attacking down that wing — 43% of their attacks against Philadelphia came down the left — and execute that plan by sending DaMarcus Beasley on the overlap and shifting a central midfielder (against the Union, it was Alex) over to the wing to make it 3-v-1 on the opposing right back. Then, they either cut inside or send it into the box; that's why 83% of their shots came from the middle of the field on Saturday.

Teams often struggle to defend it simply due to numbers. When one defender is isolated against three attackers, he has almost no chance of stopping them. This is what the Dynamo do:

Seven is Beasley, 27 is Boniek Garcia, and 14 is Alex. They all look like they could be left wingers from their average positions.

This strategy is likely to work on Friday. Orlando City had absolutely zero defensive organization against FC Dallas, and that's unlikely to change by the time this game kicks off. OCSC were unable to deal with runners, and when they were forced to defend 1v1, it didn't go very well. Dallas broke open their backline incredibly easily, and while Houston don't have that kind of firepower, they still should be able to do similar damage.

Here are all of Orlando's struggles in one clip:

The Dynamo should score a lot.

3. Watch Larin

With all this talk about Orlando's porous defense, I forgot to mention Orlando's biggest threat on offense: Cyle Larin.

Last year's Rookie of the Year hasn't slowed down since his 17-goal season in 2015. He's scored eight times — tied with Sebastian Giovinco for fifth in the league — and after not recording an assist all of last year, he already has three this season. He's become a more well-rounded player and continues to wreck havoc on backlines as one of the best No. 9's in the league.

He won't have Kaka in this game, but he remains a serious threat for the Dynamo. They'll have to keep a sharp eye on him, and make sure he doesn't go unmarked on set pieces.