The Houston Dynamo are coming off a road trip which saw the club go 0-2-0 in that stretch so they’ll look to turn things around when they host the Colorado Rapids tonight at BBVA Compass Stadium.
In our preview of the match we discussed the impact of injuries have had on the Dynamo which have forced Wilmer Cabrera into giving players extended minutes and having some players play out of position. Still, we wanted to know more about our opponent so we spoke with John Rosch at Burgundy Wave to learn more about the Rapids.
Dynamo Theory: The Colorado Rapids have 8 points in 12 games so far which puts them at the bottom of the Western Conference table. What were preseason expectations for the Rapids and what are the general reactions so far from fans?
Burgundy Wave: I think that fan frustration is at an all time high in Commerce City. There have been a number of hashtags and significant social media unrest that fans are using to voice their displeasure. Even the most positive and optimistic Rapids fans realize that this is a complete dumpster fire and nothing is going to change for a while.
Preseason was filled with significant optimism for the Rapids. A new coach with a new system and 14 new players meant that things were looking up in Colorado. But cracks began to show when Anthony Hudson did not try in the CONCACAF Champions League and some of the new talent showed that they were not ready for MLS. And losing Kortne Ford, the emotional glue of this team to injury, really has hurt.
DT: How are the Rapids approaching this season? Is it over, are they going to make some noise in the summer transfer window, or are they already focusing on next season?
BW: The season is over. No doubt. They have lost eight games in a row, including Wednesday night US Open Cup match against Nashville SC, in which they registered zero shots on goal. And of the Rapids two wins, one was against a Toronto team that played its C team as they were in the midst of CCL play. The season is over.
I don’t believe that they will make a major splash in the summer window as there is nothing to play for. Sure, they are not mathematically out of the playoffs, but the Rapids need to average 1.90 points per game to get to 50 points, which seems to be that magic number. They are definitely looking towards next year.
As for this season, it would be nice to see some of the young talent they have get a real shot, not just the new players that have been brought in. This should be Tim Howard’s last season, and while I would prefer Zac MacMath in goal, I doubt that it happens. If the Rapids can truly give their young guys a shot and see what they have in them, it could be a mildly exciting second two thirds of the year. And the team needs some excitement.
DT: The Rapids have let in 22 goals so far this season which actually isn’t too bad (the Dynamo have let in 21 for example). How will the defense look to prevent our offense from finding the net?
BW: Honestly, our defense has been pretty dang bad. They have given up 17 goals in MLS play over this losing streak (19 if you include US Open Cup) and it is very clear that the 3-5-2 that Hudson rolls out is not successful. And when you are playing Dynamo team that has the second most goals in the West...YIKES! It could be a recipe for disaster.
The only chance I see the Rapids having is if they can force the Dynamo offense to the outside and force them to cross the ball into the middle. The Rapids central defense is tall and can head balls away. If Houston is able to control possession and move the ball up the pitch and take shots from a respectable distance, they should have success. Also, because the Rapids don’t score much, they are susceptible to the counter when players are up the field. Bottom line for Houston, if they are patient, they should be able to break the Rapids down and find the back of the net.
Projected Lineup: 3-5-2
Tim Howard, Deklan Wynne, Tommy Smith, Danny Wilson, Marlon Hairston, Sam Nicholson, Enzo Martinez, Jack Price, Edgar Castillo, Dominique Badji, Yannick Boli
Predicted Outcome: Houston 4:0 Colorado
The defense is in shambles, confidence is shot for the Rapids, Houston got right in the Cup this week, and Houston is just a better team.
For my answers to John’s excellent questions, please check them out at Burgundy Wave!