A Tuesday night game? Hey, when the national TV broadcasts want a Tuesday game, you play on Tuesday. The Houston Dynamo have their second in-state opponent in four days as they travel to the state capital to face Austin FC. The Dynamo are coming off that wild Derby on Saturday against FC Dallas that ended in a 2-2 draw. Austin also played on Saturday, winning in dominating fashion on the road at Atlanta United 3-0.
Herrera ready for more?
Hector Herrera didn’t start in his Dynamo debut (much to the chagrin of quite a few fans), but he did come on in the second half and played 35 minutes plus a lengthy stoppage time. Will Herrera be ready for this first start after a quick turnaround? I wouldn’t count on him in the starting lineup just yet. There should be a lot of momentum after the late equalizer Saturday but some of the veterans, namely Herrera and Darwin Quintero, probably start tonight on the bench.
Head coach Paulo Nagamura talked about the team’s preparation for the match with Austin. “Short turnaround and another classico, a big game for us,” he said in his weekly press conference. “The last few days have been about recovering mostly and making sure that the guys know what they’re going to be facing tomorrow. Austin has been very consistent throughout the year, playing with a lot of confidence and coming from some very good results on the road. We know this is going to be, as always, a difficult game but I believe after our game against FC Dallas, we’re showing some great signs and a lot of positives came out of that game. We just got to keep our momentum going.”
Forward Sebastian Ferreira has not scored since the 2-1 loss to Orlando, a scoreless streak of four matches. With the firepower Austin has, the Dynamo are going to need to score goals tonight if they want to bring any points home. Sebas came off after 55 minutes Saturday for Thor Ulfarsson, who ended up scoring the Dynamo’s first goal of the night. Could Thor be in line for a start over Ferreira? “Every player has an important role for this team, every player in the squad has to produce,” Nagamura said when asked about Ferreira on Monday. “That’s not my job to go into that realm (of salary), that’s for Asher (Mendelsohn) and Pat (Onstad) when they sit down and discuss if that’s what they see. In terms of the group and how we go about things, we assess if every player is doing the best they possibly can on the field.” Ferreira scored in the Dynamo’s previous match with Austin this season, his long-range effort from midfield winning Goal of the Week honors.
Red hot Austin
The temperature isn’t the only thing scorching hot in Austin this summer. Austin FC have not lost a match since May, an unbeaten streak of 5 matches. The Verde have also won their last 3 contests, all on the road. Midfielder Sebastian Driussi scored in Austin’s win against the Dynamo earlier this season and was named an MLS All Star today. The Argentine leads the team with 11 goals this season. A win tonight would move Austin ahead of LAFC into first in the MLS Supporters’ Shield standings. Austin won both meetings between the two clubs at Q2 Stadium last season, 3-2 and 2-1. Tonight will be a tall task for the Dynamo but they’d like nothing more than to cool off their noisy neighbors.
Houston Dynamo – None listed
Austin FC – Out: Freddy Kleeman (left ACL), Jhojan Valencia (right meniscus)