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Houston Dynamo vs Rio Grande Valley FC Toros - What to watch for

The Dynamo return to the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup to face old friends, the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros

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

After a 2-year hiatus, the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is back. The Houston Dynamo begin their run for the cup in the Third Round tonight against the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. The Dynamo are coming off a 0-0 draw on Saturday against the Portland Timbers. The Toros have won just 2 of their 6 matches in the USL Championship this season but they are coming off a victory their last time out, 1-0 over New York Red Bulls II. RGV advanced to the Third Round of the Open Cup by winning on the road at North Carolina FC 2-1 in their inaugural match in the competition.

Old friends in town

RGVFC served as the Dynamo’s USL affiliate for years, a place where the Dynamo could send young players to get game minutes. Because of that, the Toros were ineligible to play in the Open Cup. Now that the two clubs are no longer affiliated, RGV is in the Open Cup and wouldn’t you know it, they get a match up with Houston. While the affiliation may be over, there are still some familiar faces down in the valley. Former Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera is the head man for the Toros, his second stint with the club. Cabrera was the Dynamo head coach when the club won its only Open Cup in 2018. Goalkeeper Tyler Deric and midfielder Juan David Cabezas, former Dynamo players, now play for RGV. There is going to be a lot of incentive for the club and multiple members of the team to come down to Houston and prove a point or two.

Let the kids play

The Open Cup has historically been a time for MLS teams to get younger players and players who are usually reserves more playing time, especially in the early rounds against lower division teams. With Houston Dynamo 2, the coaching staff has been able to keep a close eye on the younger players playing close to home. Marcelo Palomino, Thiago, and Brooklyn Raines came off at half time and Dynamo Dos head coach Kenny Bundy hinted that was done with the Open Cup in mind. It remains to be seen which Dynamo 2 players will be available and playing tonight but with how well that team is playing, it should be an exciting moment for fans to see them with the first team.

Nagamura’s pedigree

Dynamo head coach Paulo Nagamura comes from a Sporting Kansas City club that took the Open Cup very seriously. SKC has won the USOC four times (2004, 2012, 2015, 2017. Nagamura won the Open Cup as a player with the LA Galaxy in 2005 and with SKC in 2012 and 2015. Paulo spoke with the media yesterday about how important a competition like the USOC can be for the club and its trajectory going forward.

“The title that we had with Sporting (Kansas City) in 2012 was a turning factor for that franchise, in terms of what they wanted to be, that title really helped, they built who they are right now. So that’s what we try to do, that is another competition, we are going to get back to winning ways and be one of the biggest clubs here in MLS. Winning the (Lamar Hunt U.S.) Open Cup will help our team get where we want to be.”

Availability report

Houston Dynamo - None listed

Rio Grande Valley FC Toros – No report

Predicted lineup