The Houston Dynamo will get their first road test of the 2022 season on Saturday evening at Children’s Mercy Park against Sporting Kansas City. To help us get some insight on Saturday’s opponent we spoke to Dan McCown of The Blue Testament. Be sure to check out their site as well to see our answers to Dan’s questions about the Dynamo.
Dynamo Theory (DT): New Dynamo head coach Paolo Nagamura was the head coach at SKC II last season and also played for the club. What was the feeling amongst fans when he left to take the Houston job and what is it like now that he is coming back to town coaching a rival?
The Blue Testament (TBT): I think while the SKC community liked Nagamura, we were all very happy for him to get a head coach job. To be honest, I felt a little relief, while he has developed some great players for us he had a really bad record and I was worried that the players being developed would not have that “winning mentality”. This is why it still seems pretty shocking that he went directly from a development team coach with a pretty bad record to a head coach. In any case, I think fans love a good rivalry, and if Paolo joining Houston stokes that again then I am here for it.
DT: With Alan Pulido out injured it seems the big question with SKC is where the goals will come from. After struggling in the opener in Atlanta, where do you think this team is going to find its offense in 2022?
TBT: Pulido being out definitely hurts, although he was routinely out last year with injuries or national team duty. Last year we made up for that by both our starting wingers, Daniel Salloi and Johnny Russell, having simply superb years. Together those two bagged a stunning 47 goals + assists in 2021. So far, it seems like Salloi is on pace to do it again, getting a goal in all but one of the pre-season games and in the opener last week. Russell is consistent as well so I expect to see him on the scoreboard a lot this year again. Lastly, new signings Nikola Vujnovic and Marinos Tzionis both seem like they could be real contributors.
DT: This Dynamo team is very different from the teams that battled for SKC over conference supremacy years ago. From an outside perspective what do you make of the current Dynamo and what they are beginning to attempt to build?
TBT: I think it’s fair to say there have been some questions about the Dynamo ever since Dominic Kinnear left in 2014 (not that it ever stopped Alberth Elis from dominating SKC). But I at least thought that Tab Ramos would right the ship. Obviously, that did not happen so I am honestly not sure what to make of the Dynamo at this point. The Hector Herrera signing might be one of those signings that you can build a team around, so it would not surprise me to see the Dynamo make a late-season run.
We want to thank Dan and The Blue Testament for giving us some information about Sporting Kansas City. Best of luck this weekend!