Less than three weeks since their previous match the San Jose Earthquakes and Houston Dynamo square off at Avaya Stadium in the bay area. San Jose is still chasing in the Western Conference playoff race but is currently only one point out of 6th place. A win would do wonders for their hopes but the Dynamo will look to play the spoiler.
San Jose has been plagued by a familiar issue to any Dynamo fan; the club currently has scored one more goal on the season (25) than the Dynamo have. Chris Wondowloski is leading the club with a respectable nine goals scored. Looking for some improvement in the offense the front office recently signed former La Liga striker Henok Goitom. Goitom is not the biggest MLS signee to come out of the Europe the last few seasons but he certainly found success there, scoring 78 goals in his professional career with multiple clubs in the top Spanish, Italian and Swedish leagues. What more, there is a report he could see some game time in this match. The Earthquakes have had a bit of a mixed season which is reflected in their current position in the standings. However they are currently riding a 5 game unbeaten streak and are certainly going to try and extend it to get some more points on the table. What better opponent than a club that has yet to snag a victory at an opponent’s home stadium? Enter the Dynamo.
For the Dynamo there have been many things holding the club back this season, preventing them from truly playing to their full capability. Offensive presence and depth have been dogging the club lately. Fortunately it’s looking like the defense is going to take a big step towards being whole again as David Horst will be available after a one game suspension, and Raul Rodriguez will likely be back in the starting lineup after playing the second half of last week’s game against Toronto. With DaMarcus Beasley still out, and Abdoulie Mansally serving a suspension for his red card last week, the left back position is open. Anibaba and Williams will likely start at the fullback positions though which of them fills in on the left side is unknown. On the offensive half it’s become clear that Cristian Maidana has earned his place in the central midfield, but the big story from last week was the play of Mauro Manotas. The young striker thrilled Dynamo fans with his aggressiveness and nose for the goal. Though unpolished it’s clear he is a dangerous player up top. Will he get a second straight start, or relinquish the position back to Will Bruin? With Collen Warner sitting behind the striker and Maidana, we will have to wait and see how the rest of the Dynamo midfield shapes up. For the first time this season there is quality proven depth across the midfield.
It’ll be the third and last matchup with Dom this season, and after a loss and a draw the Dynamo owe him one. The downer to this matchup is that we will see two sides with strong defenses and offenses that are only starting to show signs of life. It’s likely going to be another slow one out there, folks. It’s hard to continue counting draws and goals scored as positive progress, but it's clear that's what the team needs to take care of in this one. Anything more will be a bonus.
Houston will take the field at 10:00 pm CT at Avaya Stadium in San Jose.