The Colorado Rapids make their third and final trip to BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night to take on Houston Dynamo in a match that is a must win for Houston if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive. As for the Rapids, they have a chance to play spoiler and derail the Dynamo playoff chances.
Derek from Dynamo Theory and I had a chance to exchange questions about this match and here is what we talked about:
Burgundy Wave: After the big win on Wednesday night, can Houston realistically make the playoffs or does it seems like a road too far?
Dynamo Theory: Realistically? No. But each game is essentially a must-win at this point, and even then we'll need a bit of help from results from other games. Could it happen? Sure, and I'd love to see us make a run in the playoffs now that players are getting healthy. However, it just doesn't seem likely with remaining games (after this one) against teams like Vancouver, Seattle, and Dallas. Wins there could do it, but it's definitely a tall order for a team running on fumes at the moment.
BW: Speaking of playoffs, I am trying to figure the Dynamo out. Playoff teams need to be consistent and yet the form guide for Houston is L-W-L-L-W. What is the root cause of this?
DT: Honestly, so much of the success in the back is tied to 2 of our players: DaMarcus Beasley and Raul Rodriguez. When they're healthy they provide cover defensively, speed, intelligence, and playmaking from the back. Beasley aggravated his calf in our win over Vancouver (the first "W"), and returned in our win over Sporting Kansas City. The games he played in and didn't play in mimic our win-loss record exactly. Rodriguez missed out in our game against Philadelphia and many believed that to be one of our worst performances of the year.
When our defense is playing well, it's able to support our offense and these two provide plenty of support to the offense. Beasley makes excellent runs and is able to find himself and others in dangerous positions. Rodriguez makes excellent passes from the defense as a center back and has proven to be a quality set piece target as well.
BW: The Rapids and Dynamo have not played the most spectacular of games this year when they have faced each other. What can we expect from Houston when they take the pitch on Saturday at BBVA?
DT: At this point I think the Dynamo will begin to play some newer faces which should prove exciting. Mid-season acquisition Rasheed Olabiyi played in central midfield next to Ricardo Clark in our win over SKC and his speed, vision, and positioning supported Clark's runs into the offense. Fun fact: the Dynamo are 4-0-1 when Olabiyi plays so look out for him.
Cubo could see a bit more playing time to give either Will Bruin or Giles Barnes a bit of rest. Alex Lima returned from injury and he's been exciting to watch due his ability to pressure defenses from a variety of positions.
Will it be a goal-fest? I'm not so sure, but it could prove more entertaining than all of our other meetings this year if some of the younger players take the field (at least I hope so).
Predicted Lineup (4-4-1-1): Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley, Raul Rodriguez, David Horst, Sheanon Williams; Brad Davis, Rasheed Olabiyi*, Ricardo Clark, Leonel Miranda; Erick Torres; Will Bruin
*if it isn't Olabiyi it'll be Alex Lima
Projected Score: 2-1 for the home team.
You can see my answers over at Dynamo Theory.