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Houston Dynamo v Real Salt Lake: What to watch for

Houston’s MLS season kicks off tonight at home against Real Salt Lake

MLS: Real Salt Lake at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

We have made it to the start of the 2022 Major League Soccer season for the Houston Dynamo. Tonight Real Salt Lake are in town, who like the Dynamo, have a new owner. The Dynamo are coming off an up and down preseason and now it’s time to play for real – what can they bring to this new season and new era?

New era

Paulo Nagamura takes charge of his first game on a Major League Soccer sideline. Sebastian Ferreira gets his first look at the North American game. Dynamo fans will hope these are just the first of many debuts this season as the club begins to retool and reshape the roster and the organization as a whole. Nagamura and Ferreira will both look to get off to a flying start but patience will be needed for the two of them. Nagamura isn’t exactly cooking with a full shopping cart just yet and Ferreira is adjusting not just to a new league but to a whole new life in the United States.

The veteran between the posts

Steve Clark comes over this season from the Portland Timbers, having fallen just short of winning MLS Cup in 2021. Clark brings a veteran presence and the DNA of a winner. The Dynamo have not had a steady presence in goal for years, maybe going back to the days of Tally Hall or even Pat Onstad. Clark will be tasked not only with keeping shots out of the net but with getting a back four to come together who has struggled the last few seasons. It is yet to be seen if Teenage Hadebe is ready to start tonight but a Tim Parker/Hadebe/Clark partnership will go a long way in determining Houston’s success in 2022.

Home-field advantage

It’s time to make PNC Stadium a fortress again. New owner Ted Segal has begun improving the roster but he is also doing some upgrades around the stadium. There is a new safe-standing section for the supporters and a new spots deck complete with tables and chairs. Now it’s time for the fans to step up. It starts tonight. Bring the passion, bring the energy, bring a little bit of the crazy. PNC Stadium needs to be a place that opponents just hate to play at. The weather isn’t going to be the typical Houston weather tonight, quite the opposite, but it starts tonight. Be ready to hold it down, Houston.

Availability report

Houston Dynamo - none listed

Real Salt Lake - Out: Zack Farnsworth, Nick Besler, Axel Kei, Rubio Rubin; Questionable: Damir Kreilach, David Ochoa; Suspended: Aaron Herrera (red card)

Predicted lineup