The Houston Dynamo are back on the road following a midweek win when they faced North Carolina FC in their 3-2 victory in the US Open Cup. The Dynamo remain winless in MLS play on the road with their lone draw to FC Dallas. The team will hope to beat the LA Galaxy in Carson, California in their first league win away from BBVA Compass Stadium.
In our preview of the match we discussed the week each side has had, but we wanted an inside perspective on our opponents so we spoke with Mike Gray at LAG Confidential to see what to expect from the LA Galaxy.
Dynamo Theory: How is the post Bruce Arena era and what have the Galaxy done to push themselves up from last year's 3rd place Western Conference finish?
LAG Confidential: Bruce ran the ship. With his departure, the leadership of the Galaxy has centered around president Chris Klein, general manager Peter Vagenas and head coach Curt Onalfo, all of whom have come under fire this season. (With scout Jovan Kirovski the lone exception) Thankfully, the team's recent run of form has helped subside what was a real crisis at the beginning of the year.
The fanbase has concerns. Curt Onalfo has done a masterful job ever since his now infamous benching of Jelle Van Damme, but is he the manager of the future? LAFC is coming next year, but if you were to ask Chris Klein about them, he wouldn't seem very worried. For fans already frustrated with the game day experience, that's not what they want to hear.
There's also a perception among some Galaxy fans that Vagenas did not win the job by merit, and might not be qualified for the position. Admittedly, the early returns haven't been good: I love Jermaine Jones, but on a $600,000 salary, he's overpaid and hasn't produced. Trading AJ was a bad idea by every available metric. Jack McInerny has yet to make an impact.
For Galaxy fans, there are lots of questions.
DT: The Galaxy are currently in 8th place, what does the team need to do to get higher up the table and stay there?
LAGC: Giovani dos Santos has to come back from the Confederations Cup ASAP. Depending on the circumstances, dos Santos could miss up to five matches with El Tri. The Galaxy defense has improved, but the deadly duo of Gio and Romain Alessandrini have played a massive role in LA's resurgence.
DT: Other than the big names, who are some players for Dynamo fans to keep an eye on?
LAGC: 18-year-old defender Hugo Arellano will likely start at center back and be tasked with shutting down the Dynamo offense. Also look for Homegrown Jack McBean to partner with Gyasi Zardes up top.
For my answers to Mike’s excellent questions check them out at LAG Confidential!