After a short off-season that always feels much longer, Major League Soccer kicks off its 25th season today. The Dynamo begin their 15th season in MLS with a scintillating match up against the LA Galaxy at BBVA Stadium. Opening day always has fans on the edge of their seat to see how the team looks, especially with new leadership on the Dynamo bench. Here are three things to watch as the Dynamo welcome their foes from Carson, California, the LA Galaxy.
National TV Audience
The Dynamo don’t get a lot of national TV games but having one on opening day is huge. The game against the Galaxy will kick off at 2:30 PM central time on Univision and will be the national TV game of the season. We all know the cliches about first impressions but Houston has a huge chance to make an impact on MLS fans and viewers, not just in the Houston area. A good showing in front of a national audience will go a long away in getting recognition and respect that many Dynamo fans feel is missing.
The Little Pea Arrives
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez made a much publicized move to the LA Galaxy this offseason and the Mexican international is set to make his MLS debut today in downtown Houston. There will no doubt be a ton of green Mexican national team jerseys in the crowd cheering for LA’s new captain but the Dynamo will want nothing more than to silence Chicharito and his fans. Kiki Struna and Maynor Figueroa will likely be tasked with keeping Chichairto off the ball and prevent him from getting to loose balls in the box. If the Houston can defense can keep Mexico’s all-time leading goal scorer quiet this afternoon, those fans may be swapping those green shirts for orange ones as they leave the stadium.
Injuries Up Front
It looks like Alberth Elis will not be suiting up today, still nursing an injury he got in the Valley during training. Darwin Quintero got some minutes in the final preseason game last weekend and could be fit enough to feature this afternoon. With Elis on the sideline, Memo Rodriguez could be the benefactor. If Elis and Quintero are both out of the lineup, Niko Hansen or Tommy McNamara would likely slot in to the starting XI. Both players looked good in the preseason and an extended run on opening day could prove to be a boost for the players, and team, going forward.
Are you ready to start this season? What are you looking forward to seeing today against the Galaxy? Let us know in the comments.