Wednesday night’s match with FC Dallas is quickly becoming a must win match for the Houston Dynamo. The team points to how close the standings are between the top and the cut line but with each loss, especially those you should win or at least earn a draw, the gap widens.
Eleven points, or 3 wins, currently stand between Houston and the top spot in the Western Conference. Only two points separate them from the cut line in the standings. A win on Wednesday night against FCD would move them to two points shy of Dallas.
Head coach Tab Ramos admitted Wednesday’s match won’t be easy especially with Dallas’ additions.
“They are now in a different place, they have (Andrés) Ricaurte that they added to the team since that game. They are a team that is playing much better and I think when you add players like (Fafà) Picault and (Michael) Barrios on the opposite side, they are one of the more dangerous teams in the league. They are in a good moment, they are a difficult team to play against, but we are certainly ready for that.”
In other news, the Dynamo signed Mateo Bajamich whom Ramos expects will play on the right side, freeing up Memo Rodriguez a little more to create and dominate inside.
”Well, he has mostly been playing for Instituto, he has mostly played on the right side. Let’s say like a seven, I have also spoken with Mateo myself about the possibility that he could also play as a withdrawn striker, or even as a number nine. He is coming here mostly to be playing on the right side, that is where he plays best, that is where he is most comfortable. Again, he seems to be like one of those players who is willing to play wherever the coach puts him. It’s that type of demeanor that you want from players.”
Sunday’s night dominating win over the NC Courage may have sent a message that there is a new sheriff in town. Houston became the first team to score four goals against NCC and score three or more goals in consecutive games against the North Carolina side.
Veronica Latsko, who was injured early in the season, spoke about what is making this team so good.
“I would say nearly after every training session, one our training sessions are ridiculously hard and it preps us for the game, to be ready for that full 90 minutes going nonstop. Then I look around after the training session and literally almost every player is doing extra work afterwards. So, all of us are just adding 20-30 minutes of extra shooting, or practice, or ball work and it motivates you to train and do what you need to work on. For us forwards, it was finishing and we wanted to be more clinical. That’s what we focused on.”
Focus was a common theme from each player and head coach James Clarkson after Sunday’s win but maybe the most telling statement about what is making this team so good is Clarkson’s description of his players.
“I think it’s because of the fact that they’re really good people. They’re not just good soccer players, they’re outstanding people. It creates an incredible atmosphere and it makes training a real joy every day. When we’ve got that, they want to fight and scrap for on another, pushing one another on. Collectively, we’re pretty good.”