The orange men from Houston have made their way into town to take on the Caps, and even though many players are missing due to international duty, it is bound to be an excellent western conference clash.
We spoke to Derek Stowers from Dynamo Theory, and got his thoughts on Houston's season so far.
Eighty Six Forever: You guys lead the league with eleven goals in three matches, including five against Texan rivals FC Dallas. What has been the reason for Houston's incredible success up front?
Dynamo Theory: A huge part of the success up front has been the inclusion of two of our offseason acquisitions in Cristian Maidana and Andrew Wenger. The two have a lot of vision and have connected with themselves and other forward targets such as Will Bruin and Giles Barnes. We’re also winning the ball in dangerous areas of the field – Wenger is especially good at this, and are forcing defensive errors which we’re capitalizing on. Bruin has also improved his hold up play and his passing has equally impressed this season. It’s a combination of things and what each offensive player brings, but I’d say by pressuring backlines and punishing mistakes has helped us immensely in the scoring department.
86F: On the flip side, the only team with a worse defensive record than the Dynamo is NYRB. While you do have one shut out in three games, seven conceded is not the best way to start the season. Is this simply a case of early season jitters, or do you think that these defensive problems will persist in the future?
DT: The Dynamo currently utilize a 4-2-3-1 formation which can lead to exposed backlines if wing players don’t contribute on the defensive end which has been a problem on our left side of the field. We’ve also been dealing with players injured or returning to health. Starting right back Sheanon Williams has been out with a hamstring injury and central midfielder Ricardo Clark has also been working his way back to being 90 minutes fit following an offseason hamstring injury. There has been debate about whether David Horst should partner with Raul Rodriguez in central defense or if we should include offseason target Agus next to Rodriguez.
This is a new system and players need to understand defensive responsibilities – even offensive players, but that should come with time as players familiarize themselves with each other and the schemes. As players return to health the team should shore up this embarrassingly leaky defense.
86F: One of the major signings that Houston made in 2015 was that of Cubo Torres; however, he has yet to score a goal since his arrival to the Lone Star State. His playing time has been incredibly limited as well this season, and since he will be missing this weekend's game due to international duty, he'll only have played 5 minutes in 4 games. How do you think Cubo will fit into the team this season?
DT: That’s very difficult to say. Right now, as mentioned earlier, the club is the best scoring team in the league so changing things up really wouldn’t make a lot of sense with the exception of dealing with injuries or call-ups. Cubo has struggled here and has looked a shell of the player he once was tearing up MLS while at Chivas USA. Players like Will Bruin and Giles Barnes have firmly outcompeted him for starting roles and even the young forward Mauro Manotas looked sharper in preseason. One would hope that there is a place for Cubo, given his past experiences and his young age, but there aren’t a lot of problems with the offense as is so I’m comfortable with him being in a super substitute role for the time being.
Projected Lineup: 4-2-3-1; Joe Willis; DaMarcus Beasley, Raul Rodriguez, David Horst, Sheanon Williams; David Rocha, Ricardo Clark; Leonel Miranda, Alex Lima, Andrew Wenger; Will Bruin
Predicated Outcome: 2-1 Dynamo. The Dynamo shore up some of their defensive concerns, but let Vancouver back into the game before scoring a late winner.