Well, this is a big one. The Houston Dynamo welcome rivals FC Dallas to PNC Stadium tomorrow night and debut the club’s new marquee signing, Hector Herrera. We talked to Drew Epperley from Big D Soccer to get some insight on the rivals from up north.
Dynamo Theory (DT): Hector Herrera is expected to make his debut for the Dynamo this weekend against FC Dallas. What are the thoughts around Herrera and his signing from a rival fan base?
Big D Soccer (BDS): Honestly, I haven’t seen a ton of chatter or buzz about the signing since it happened. But I think that now he is here in Texas, people will begin to talk more. For me, I think it is a great signing for the Dynamo and MLS for that matter. I know past Mexican national teamers didn’t work out well in Houston but this one feels different and bigger. Herrera brings a different level of experience to the Dynamo than what we’ve seen them have in past DPs too. I think there is hope that signings like this can re-spark the rivalry that has been kind of dull in recent years.
DT: After a hot start, Dallas has just 2 draws and 2 losses from their last 4 matches. What has been behind the recent struggles and what do they need to do to get back to the winning ways early in the season?
BDS: A lot of it has come down to defensive collapses or simple mistakes in the back. Some of it was due to injuries to Matt Hedges or Jose Martinez. Some of it was just miscommunications between defensive pairings in the back and goalkeeper Maarten Paes. Some of it may just be due to bad luck. Two good examples are how Vancouver scored their first goal against Dallas a couple of weeks ago and then how Miami tied things up on Monday night. Both were simple and unlucky spots that the defense gave up. To get back to where they were earlier in the season, it will really come down to the defense being what they were at the start of the year. During that stretch in April and May, Dallas was stingy in the back, but they also gave up a little more possession to other teams too. If they can find that balance again, while maintaining the way the attack has played, they’ll be fine. I just have a feeling it may be a little bit before they can sort that out again.
DT: Paul Arriola has been playing at an MVP level since coming to Dallas. What has made him so successful for FCD and how have the pieces around him helped in that?
BDS: I think the desire to be here has been part of the reason few are talking about with Arriola. He was already familiar with Nico Estevez due to the national team and his connection with Jesus Ferreira has really been special to watch unfold this season. I would also say that his energy on and off the field is a bit contagious to others and that has helped the attack find a way to click with one another more so than what we’ve seen in recent years here in Dallas.
DT: With the transfer window opening up, where are some areas FCD may look to improve, and do you foresee any moves happening in North Texas?
BDS: Recently, Estevez said that the club would likely be pretty quiet this summer but given how the defensive issues are piling up in recent weeks, I can’t help but wonder if they are looking to add more pieces. Having maybe one more quality center back on their roster depth chart would be ideal. The problem will come down to international roster slots. If they can get some green cards worked out somehow for some existing players, that could help but I would imagine they’ll stay put with the roster that they have currently.
We want to thank Drew and our friends at Big D Soccer for giving us some information about FC Dallas. Best of luck tomorrow! You can check out our answers to their questions over at their site.