The Houston Dynamo return to Major League Soccer play with a trip to central Florida to take on Orlando City SC. Houston and Orlando have not played since the 2019 season, a 2-1 Dynamo win. Houston is coming off a 1-0 win last weeked in the Dynamo Charities Cup against LigaMX side Atletico San Luis. Orlando played a league match on Wednesday night, drawing 1-1 with the New England Revolution on the road.
Back in action
A total of nine Dynamo players return from international duty tonight. Darwin Ceren took part in Tuesday’s United States v El Salvador match and has joined the team in Orlando. Adalberto Carrasquilla spent the international break with Panama but is unavailable tonight due to Health and Safety Protocols. Strikers Thor Ulfarsson (Iceland U21) and Sebastian Ferreira (Paraguay) should be available this evening to lead the attack.
Head coach Paulo Nagamura is ready to get back to work in MLS play. “Yeah, we’re ready,” Nagamura said this week. “Finally, league games are back. Of course, we had a good game last weekend against Atletico San Luis but the boys are ready, the boys are prepared. Of course, we watched Orlando last night. A team that brings a lot of intensity in their game – very quality, talented squad so we’ll prepare. It’s going to be a difficult one, but I think our guys will be prepared for the game and hopefully, we can have a great performance on the road.”
Big chance for road points
Houston has had some success early this year on the road and tonight is another big chance to gain points away from home. Orlando has lost four of seven games this season at home, most recently losing 3-1 to FC Dallas before the international break. The Dynamo have already won once in Florida this season, beating Inter Miami, and another win in the Sunshine State would go a long way for Houston’s playoff chances. The Dynamo are currenlty eighth in the Western Conference standings, with the top seven teams making the postseason at the end of the year.
More time to prep
With Orlando having played Wednesday, on the road, the Lions face a short turnaround for tonight’s match. The Dynamo last played on Saturday, a friendly designed to get guys back in game shape after the long break. So, is this an advantage for Houston? Nagamura doesn’t necessarily think it is. “I mean we scout them with how we do with any other team but to be honest we had international dates and so we we’re missing a couple of players,” Nagamura told the media this week. “A couple of players dealing with some knocks here and there. There’s no advantage I think. We’re really prepared, we scout, we make sure that our guys know what type of team Orlando is or what they try to do. We try to do our best job to inform our players and make sure that they are ready for the game. But I don’t think there is an advantage. I think with international break and days off and then no games for two or three weeks, I think every team is at the same place.”
Houston Dynamo – Out: Adalberto Carrasquilla (Health & Safety Protocol)
Orlando City - Out: Antonio Carlos (left thigh), Mason Stajduhar (jaw), Silverster van der Water (lower left leg), Rodrigo Schlegel (yellow card accumulation), Michael Halliday (international duty)