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Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes Preview: Dynamo Seeking Separation in The West

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Dynamo face their Dark Link for the second time this season

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Dynamo face the Earthquakes this weekend, but this time Dom won’t be returning, after the coach long affiliated with San Jose and Houston was let go by the Earthquakes just over six weeks ago. The third winningest coach in MLS history at the time of his departure was let go to a shocked reaction by fans and players alike. His recent history with the resurrected Earthquakes was middling though he had his side in playoff contention nearing the midway point of the 2017 season. Now headed by the former club Technical Director Chris Leitch the Quakes have for the most part kept form on the pitch and have even gained a little ground in the table. They sit in 5th behind a 4-way tie (!) for 2nd, of which the Dynamo are a part. Leitche has gone a respectable 3-0-3 in his first ever stint as a head coach at any level. The coaching change draws the obvious comparisons, except for the fact that Kinnear wasn’t doing nearly as poorly as Coyle was last season. Leitch has tinkered a with the lineup and formation a bit and it seems to be working. San Jose has two wins in it’s last two outings in MLS play, both of those matches at home. They did however just dip out of the US Open Cup in a sudden death penalty shootout with Kansas City. The midweek play will obviously have them coming in tired to BBVA.

Houston, undefeated in their last five matches, need to start finding ways to get ahead of the pack. Positions two through seven in the Western Conference are incredibly tight and have been that way for several weeks. Beyond maintaining their home unbeaten record the Dynamo need to find ways to have more possession and limit opponent chances, or at least make it clear to opponents that the game will be played the way Houston wants it to be. Cabrera has done a fair bit of tinkering with his lineups throughout the season, trying to capture not only what made the team so exciting early on, but also to find what will sustain us to the playoffs. There are also the recent acquisitions to consider as well. Things could be a bit murky this weekend with Alex out for discipline from the latest matchup with RSL. With his absence in the midfield it will be up to Rico to fill the gap a bit and Cabezas to maintain control of the rear. We haven’t seen Boniek play in a minute and this could be a good chance for him to take the field. The last month has been a good one, which the team sorely needed after a lackluster June. The flip side to that is it seems everyone in the West is having a good run of late. Not only is San Jose looking up, but RSL, Vancouver, and Seattle as well. Houston has not had a problem finding results even when the playmakers weren’t available, so we’ll see what happens when the club defends the home pitch without it’s midfield star.

Date: 8:00 pm CST, Saturday, August 12, 2017

Location: BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX

Last Meeting: April 22, 2017 (2 - 0 Houston)