This match features two teams on opposite ends of the Western Conference table with the Dynamo sitting second in the table and the Rapids holding the table up in dead last. This will be a tough match for the Burgundy Boys, but with the Dynamo being so dreadful on the road (0-6-2) , all three points are possible.
I had a chance to exchange questions with Derek at Dynamo Theory about the match, and here’s what he told us about Houston:
Burgundy Wave: The turnaround in Houston is amazing. What are the primary reasons?
Dynamo Theory: The front office finally decided to go into a full rebuild mode. When the Dynamo hired Owen Coyle following the departure of Dominic Kinnear (very sad to see him let go by SJ by the way), Coyle and the front office never transformed the team to match Coyle’s style of play. Many of the players remained the same and they tried to adapt to what Coyle wanted – which changed a few times, but it never felt like “Coyle’s team”.
The Dynamo organization brought in Wilmer Cabrera in the offseason and allowed him to shape the club to his style. We saw sweeping changes in personnel with longtime players like Will Bruin shipped out. Players coming in included speedy wingers such as Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis who complemented Cubo Torres and Cabrera’s counter attacking style of play. Others included Adolfo Machado, A. J. DeLaGarza, and Leonardo who provide defensive reinforcement to an attacking dominant team. These changes along with Cabrera’s fast attacking brand are the main reasons why the club currently sits in 2nd place in the West (as of me writing this) rather than looking up from the bottom of the Western Conference table.
BW: Some Dynamo fans were upset when the job went to Wilmer. What are they thinking now?
DT: There were a few fans that wanted other considerations for the head coaching job that extend all the way to last season when Coyle departed. Names like Jason Kreis were thrown around, some fans wanted to give Wade Barrett, who had been the interim coach, a shot at the job, and others wanted Wilmer due to his success with Rio Grande Valley FC – the Dynamo USL affiliate.
Right now fans are pretty happy which comes with being successful. I would say they’re especially happy when they see matches at BBVA Compass Stadium because the team is unbeaten there in league play. However, there are concerns about how he coaches on the road, but overall it’s been good thoughts and opinions of his performance and hiring.
BW: It's been a terrific start....is this a playoff team?
DT: *Knocks on wood*….Yes. It’s tempting to say no given the road performances up to this point, but the Dynamo have been getting better on the road (and the game in LA should have been their first win on the road) and currently are doing well in the standings.
As it stands we’re in a playoff position and have a designated player slot available and cash to shore up places during the summer transfer window so this team can get better. I think we end up mid-table by the end of it, but we have a shot at being the top team in the West. The Dynamo are looking like they finally belong in the playoff conversation and that conversation for once isn’t about them sneaking into the 8 seed.
Lineup: (4-3-3): Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley, Leonardo, Adolfo Machado, A. J. DeLaGarza; Alex Lima, Juan David Cabezas, Ricardo Clark; Mauro Manotas, Cubo Torres, Andrew Wenger
Score prediction: I think the Dynamo have improved enough and showed that they are capable of winning on the road as they should have won in LA, but an offside goal was allowed for the Galaxy which equalized the game late. Will we fly out of the gates and dominate like we do in Houston? No, but I think we win a close game: 2-1 to the visiting Dynamo.
You can find my answers to his questions over at Dynamo Theory!