The Houston Dynamo continue this week with their 2nd game on the road in 4 days – great job MLS schedulers, as the club makes its way to Atlanta, Georgia to take on MLS newcomer, Atlanta United FC. The Dynamo have already faced the other new club to MLS when they drew Minnesota United FC 2-2 in a disappointing home draw.
The motivations for each side differ vastly as the Dynamo currently sit in 2nd place in the Western Conference, but are still hoping to get their very first points on the road this season which they’ll need to start doing if they hope to stay in the top half of the conference. For Atlanta, they began the year off fairly hot, but have cooled off considerably since then. They have 13 points which is good for 9th place in the Eastern Conference. It’s certainly ambitious to expect a playoff berth from an expansion side, but Atlanta looks like it has some of the tools necessary to make a run in the East.
How will the midweek match impact the Dynamo?
A big question surrounding Houston is how they’ll manage their 3rd game in 8 days and how travel will change things. Wilmer Cabrera really wanted to open this road trip with a win so he opted for his strongest possible lineup in Wednesday night’s loss to the Philadelphia Union. With Atlanta being well rested, it may be necessary for Cabrera to make some changes in order to play the game with the pace that he usually demands.
Atlanta United FC Form?
Atlanta had a nice run early in the season due primarily to the blistering scoring run primarily through the young Venezuelan DP Josef Martinez (happy birthday by the way). Since Martinez suffered a quad injury in late March, Atlanta simply hasn’t looked the same as they’ve only scored more than 1 goal just twice in the 7 games he’s been missing. Of course, it’s tough to say the team’s recent decline in form is due to the absence of a single player, but he is incredibly important. The team’s defense has also been leaky in recent games.
Can we overcome our poor road form?
The answer to this question will likely tell you who won this game. If we can play similarly to how we play at home then we absolutely can beat the 9th best team in the Eastern Conference. However, if we come out and play like we did in Philadelphia, or Toronto, or New England, or the 2nd half at Portland, we probably won’t. Atlanta has not been ironclad at home having won just 1 of their 3 matches at Bobby Dodd Stadium, but that’s a small number of games to indicate a trend. Hopefully the Men in Orange reflect on the loss in Philly and rebound in Atlanta.
Game time is 6:00 PM CT Saturday May, 20th in Atlanta, Georgia.