This weekend, the Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash will get back to work in their respective leagues. Both are trying to prove the critics wrong and keep the momentum going from before the international break. For the both, the need for a quick positive restart is imperative. Can they deliver?
The Houston Dynamo have been riding the rollercoaster for so long, it’s like deja vu all over again everyday. The Dynamo, despite losing two of their last three before the break with a goal differential of minus 2 have an opportunity to make a statement. They will take on LAFC, Portland, and Real Salt Lake out of the gate. All three trail the Dynamo, who currently sit fifth in the Western Conference table.
Houston’s defense has been maligned again, however when you talk with head coach Tab Ramos you learn the real culprit is the inability to string passes together especially in the midfield and control possession.
“We need to be better at possessing the ball and try to compose ourselves a little bit more, but we’re getting there,” said Ramos following the SKC loss. “It’s like you say: everything we do, we want to be a pressing team, a hard-working team but also with quality on the ball. I think we have the players here for it and it’s everything. It’s in trainings where we have to keep the ball. Normal stuff where you have less touches on the ball, we divide the field into zones so we can learn how to switch it fast. I think that’s a really important thing in this league, to switch to ball fast, because when you switch sides, the other team has to run and cover a lot of ground and that’s tiring.”
Come Saturday in Los Angeles, we will see if the time off and the time working on these things will pay off as the Dynamo begin a stretch of three games in eight days with two of those on the road. A critical nine points are at stake that will set the tone for the “second act” of 2021.
The Houston Dash, on the other hand, entered the international break with a two game win streak in hand and come out facing Racing Louisville FC. Just before the break the Dash added two more pieces to an already strong side as forward Jasmyn Spencer and midfielder Andrea Hauksdottire were acquired on May 31st and June 1st respectively. These two pieces will help to ensure that the Dash continue to function at a high rate whenever they lose multiple players to international duty over the course of the 2021 campaign.
The Dash restart won’t be all smooth sailing as once they are by Racing Louisville FC, the first place Orlando Pride come calling on June 26th at BBVA. Then OL Reign, which has always been a nemesis, comes visiting on Fourth of July weekend.
After these games fans will have a good idea of where this team stands with regard to if it can now consistently live up to the hype. The initial prognosis says this team is for real but play on the field will be the only thing that matters.