After a loss in Minnesota over the weekend, the Houston Dynamo have to rebound quickly as the star-studded roster of LAFC come to PNC Stadium tonight. The Dynamo took a lead in Minnesota, but conceded twice in the second half to lose 2-1. Supporters’ Shield leaders LAFC were thumped in Austin 4-1 on Friday night, and return to Texas looking to get back on track.
The stars at night
If you have paid any attention to Major League Soccer over the past few months, you know the “dream team” that LAFC have assembled. Mexican Carlos Vela has been there, dominating MLS, and he has now been joined by Welsh star Gareth Bale and Italian veteran Giorgio Chiellini. Not only does LAFC have these stars, they have a roster full of very, very good players with the likes of Cristian Tello, Cristian Arango, Jose Cifuentes, Kellyn Acosta, Ryan Hollingshead, Max Crepeau, and more on the roster. To say tonight’s game is a huge test for the Dynamo would be an understatement. The players can’t, and don’t, look at it that way. “They’re a beatable team,” forward Fafa Picault said yesterday. “Everybody is. We can’t take a minute off, we can’t have a loss of focus. We have to continue fighting, we’re not finishing off games. The important thing is fighting for 90 minutes and bringing home three points.”
Say what you want about Dynamo head coach Paulo Nagamura, and a lot of you have, but everything we are hearing points to him being retained next season. TUDN’s Michele Giannone reported before Saturday’s match in Minnesota that Nagamura’s job is safe for next season, regardless of the results to end this season. The Dynamo head coach was asked in his press conference yesterday if that report is accurate and if he has been told as much by the front office. “I’m really concentrated with the guys we have here and getting results. It’s always great to feel support from the management side but that won’t change my approach,” Nagamura said. “We are competitors, we want to win every game, we want to turn this around. No matter if there is support or there isn’t support, I’m not going to change my approach. My approach is to help this team win games. That’s the approach I’m going to take until someone says the opposite.”
More of the kids
New winger Nelson Quiñones made his MLS debut on Saturday as a second half substitute. The 20-year-old Colombian finished the match with one cross and three successful dribbles. With this being the second of three matches in nine days, could we see more of Quiñones and some of the young players tonight? Dynamo 2 don’t play until Saturday, and while a lot of their players can’t play on the first team because of loan rules and how many times those players can be moved between the teams, guys with first team contracts such as Marcelo Palomino, Beto Avila, Juan Castilla, and Danny Rios could feature tonight without any restrictions. With the season slipping away and the playoffs all but a pipe dream at this point, why not see what the kids can do?
Houston Dynamo – Out: Daniel Steres (yellow card accumulation); Questionable: Hector Herrera (right leg), Teenage Hadebe (left leg), Thor Ulfarsson (abdominal)
LAFC – none lited