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Going back to Cali: 3 things to watch

The Dynamo return from the international break with a trip to Los Angeles to take on LAFC.

MLS: Los Angeles FC at Dynamo FC Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The international break is over for the Dynamo and they are back to the Major League Soccer schedule tonight. Houston heads to Los Angeles to play LAFC at 10 PM central time tonight. Tonight’s match is available on UniMas and TUDN nationally. Here are three things to watch.

Celebrating freedom

Major League Soccer will recognize Juneteenth, the effective end of slavery in the United States, with a series of initiatives at this weekend’s matches that celebrate freedom. The efforts are in collaboration with Black Players for Change (BPC), an organization of Black MLS players, coaches and staff seeking to increase inclusion in soccer that was established on Juneteenth 2020. MLS initiatives will include limited-edition jerseys that will be auctioned off and the playing of the Black National Anthem (“Lift Every Voice and Sing”) before this weekend’s matches.

mlssoccer.com

The Dynamo are putting together a trip to Galveston Island, the place where the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. The Juneteenth Legacy Project has painted a Mural in Galveston and the club will be taking players from the first team, the Dash, and the academy to visit the mural. In addition, the club is working with Emancipation Park Conservatory, which is located just .5 miles from BBVA Stadium, for players to take part in their virtual Juneteenth ceremony.

Late night soccer

Get your coffee ready (or your beverage of choice), it’s going to be a late one. West coast kickoffs always make for staying up but a 10 PM local kickoff is late even by those standards. The Dynamo have never beaten LAFC in MLS play and enter tonight’s match with a 0-4-3 record against Bob Bradley’s side. Houston played LAFC to a 1-1 draw earlier this year at BBVA Stadium and will look to take advantage of Bradley’s team who has struggled out of the gate in 2021.

The boys are back

Five Dynamo players spent the international break playing with their national teams. Zarek Valentin (Puerto Rico), Ariel Lassiter (Costa Rica), Darwin Ceren (El Salvador), and Boniek Garcia and Maynor Figueroa (Honduras) are all back with the team and available for selection tonight. Ceren led El Salvador to CONCACAF’s final qualification round for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a first for the Central American Country since reaching this stage in 2009.