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Dynamo looking for another win in California: What to watch for

The Dynamo head to San Jose looking for their second win in California this season.

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

The Houston Dynamo will look for their second win in California this season as they take on the San Jose Earthquakes tonight. Houston beat the LA Galaxy 3-0 in Carson earlier this season. The Dynamo are coming off a 3-1 loss to Austin on Tuesday night. San Jose played on Wednesday, beating the LA Galaxy 3-2 on the road.

The A Team

Tuesday’s loss in Austin saw Sebastian Ferreira, Hector Herrera, and Darwin Quintero start the game on the bench. Herrera came on to start the second half and Quintero came on after 65 minutes. Ferreira did not see action. With the Dynamo needing a win, look for all three of these players to start. If Houston is going to compete for a playoff spot, they are going to need these three players playing at a high level.

Finding the right mix

Head coach Paulo Nagamura continues to tinker with lineups to find something that will work. The Dynamo are not deep and having to reach into the reserves so often has shown in recent performances. Nagamura isn’t changing lineups just to change them. He said this week in his press conference that he is still working to define his core group. “I don’t think we have found the best versions of ourselves yet,” Nagamura said in his weekly press conference. “It’s in the works, there are a couple of missing pieces and a couple of things that we need to work on as a team to be better. I think we are not there yet, we definitely are way further along than we were at the beginning of the year. With the arrival of Hector (Herrera), I think it’s going to help that, we can figure out what the next steps are.”

Defensive improvements

Since shutting out Chicago on June 25, the Dynamo have allowed two goals to Portland, two to Charlotte, two to Dallas, and three to Austin. Houston has been interchanging center backs with Teenage Hadebe, Tim Parker, and Daniel Steres all getting starts. The Dynamo have managed only one clean sheet on the road in their last 17 games away from home, that coming in their last trip to California when they beat the LA Galaxy 3-0. If this team is going to get back to winning, the defense from earlier in the season showing up will be a huge boost. “The last few games, giving up two goals a game – we just want to be a better defensive team,” goalkeeper Steve Clark said this week. “That’s not just us, it’s the whole group. It’s who we want to be in our ideas.”

Availability Report

Houston Dynamo – Out: Thiago (Health and Safety Protocol)

San Jose Earthquakes – Out: Gilbert Fuentes (personal), Siad Haji (concussion), Judson (right knee), Marcos Lopez (yellow card accumulation)

Predicted Lineup