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Houston Dynamo vs San Jose Earthquakes: What to watch for

Houston returns home after a big road win, looking to keep the positive momentum going.

MLS: San Jose Earthquakes at Houston Dynamo Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

After a big road win las weekend, the Houston Dynamo return home to PNC Stadium to take on the San Jose Earthquakes. The Dynamo are coming off the big 3-1 win at Inter Miami, while San Jose has yet to record a win this season bur rebounded for a 2-2 draw with Austin last time out. Can Houston make it two wins in row?

Center back pairing

Second-year player Ethan Bartlow made his MLS debut last week at Miami, starting alongside Teenage Hadebe. Bartlow became the fourth different player to start for Houston at center back, along with Hadebe, Tim Parker, and Daniel Steres. Parker returned to practice this week while Steres remains questionable on the availability report with a left leg injury. Could Bartlow get another start with Hadebe? The pair only conceded one goal, a penalty after a foul by goalkeeper Steve Clark. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Sebas off the mark

When you pay big money for a striker, you’d like him to be bagging goals in bunches. Record-signing Sebastian Ferreira has yet to find the net in his first five games in orange. Some fans have begun to hit the panic button but, I am going to continue to preach patience. Is it concerning? Slightly. At the same time, strikers go through cold spells and a player adjusting to a brand new league and new country can be difficult. This is the week Ferreira gets his goal, book it.

Dazzling Darwin

If you have seen the fountain of youth that is somewhere in Houston, let me know. 34 year-old Darwin Quintero must know where it is because the Colombian has been rejuvenated this season. Darwin scored again last week, his third goal of the season, and he leads Major League Soccer in non-penalty goals per 90 minutes with 0.97. The Scientist of Goals may not be able to go a full match anymore but his pressure numbers show when he is on the pitch he is all over the place. Houston will once again look to their veteran playmaker to get the offense going tonight.

Availability report

Houston Dynamo - Questionable: Daniel Steres (left leg)

San Jose Earthquakes - Out: Gilbert Fuentes (personal), Chofis (left upper thigh), Judson (left knee), Benji Kikanovic (core muscle strain), Nathan (left knee), Shea Salinas (right knee, right calf)

Predicted lineup