It’s a start to the season that has yet to reap rewards for the Vancouver Whitecaps’ new system, and new manager Marc Dos Santos. Following a disappointing outing at the Rio Tinto last weekend, the Whitecaps head to Houston to take on the Dynamo this coming Saturday.
Last season Vancouver picked up a surprising 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo at the BBVA, but as Derek with Dynamo Theory tells us, this is a new Dynamo side and while they saw some change, the home support in Houston expect good things in 2019.
First question - Houston fielded a first choice XI against Tigres, are you concerned about fatigue heading into Saturday?
I’m a little concerned, but not overly concerned. I’ll explain.
For most of Champions League and the opening game for the Dynamo, Wilmer Cabrera has largely fielded the same guys and they’ve mostly held together throughout that period with only a few non-fatigue related injuries. That’s still a lot of minutes and pressure for this group and it definitely adds up, but Cabrera did manage to get guys a lot of rest in our 2-1 win over the Montreal Impact. With that rest even with the midweek trip to Tigres, I think they should be ready to go, maybe with some players getting an early substitution or coming off the bench.
Last season Dynamo posted an 8-6-3 record at home after being somewhat dominant at Compass Stadium for years. How are you feeling about the start of the season?
It’s very tough to judge at this point because of how things have been prioritized with CCL. So far we’ve seen a team with mostly the starters draw Real Salt Lake and then a squad with bench players mixed in with starters get the win over the Impact. Since we’ve been knocked out of CCL, I think we’ll get a clearer picture of our form at home – especially with a schedule that’s front loaded with games at BBVA.
While the offseason changes weren’t as significant as what happened in Vancouver, Houston still saw a large amount of turnover with the retirement/departures of the likes of Wenger, Senderos and Machado to name a few. How do you feel the team is settling as a group?
Some of those departures were expected and others weren’t like Wenger’s retirement. The front office had to address these departures while also finding ways to secure depth at positions that were problems last season and I think they were mostly successful.
Kiki Struna and Maynor Figueroa have gelled very well together along with the addition of Matias Vera. It’s helped that for the majority of the preseason, CCL, and the regular season that Cabrera has tried to keep the same guys on the field together. That’s helped their chemistry develop in a short amount of time.
Injuries to key players like Juan David Cabezas have hurt some of that development, but veterans like Boniek Garcia have stepped in wonderfully to help. It isn’t perfect yet, but with CCL now out the window, the team can now focus on the regular season and training without a double game week every week.