In many ways, Houston’s offseason was very similar to the Rapids. The Dynamo ended the 2018 season with 38 points and finished 9th in the West, which was quite a ways off from the playoffs and in need of a pretty big overhaul. To their credit, they seem to have made some significant changes.
They declined the options on five defenders and a forward, had contracts run out for two defenders and a midfielder, had a loan expire, lost a midfielder in the Expansion Draft to FC Cincinnati, and traded a keeper to DC United. When it was all said and done, 12 players were out.
In their places, Houston brought in a homegrown player, a defender from Montreal, a transfer from Palermo (a 2nd division Italian club), a SuperDraft player, and ex-Rapids player Maynor Figueroa. They also brought in a couple of midfielders, one from Argentina, one from the Re-Entry draft, and the Rapid’s own Marlon Hairston.
At the beginning of this season, the Dynamo were busy with CONCACAF Champion’s League, beating C.D. Guastatoya (the lone Guatemalan team) twice to advance to play against Tigres UANL. Houston then lost both legs against Tigres.
So far, their MLS season has been fairly impressive: a draw against RSL, a 2-1 win against Montreal, and a 3-2 win over Vancouver. What’s interesting though, is that this weekend will be their first road game for the year. In 2018, they lost the vast majority of their road games, going 2-10-5. Here’s hoping they keep the trend up.
Houston has been lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Their Designated Players are Honduran forward Albert Elis and Argentinian midfielder Tomas Martinez. Alongside them, expect to see forward Mauro Manotas and homegrown midfielder Memo Rodriguez. Marlon Hairston has made a few appearances for the team as well, slotting in for Albert Elis in the right wing position. Offensively, Memo Rodriguez has been doing quite well—he scored against Montreal and got a brace against Vancouver.
With all that being said, I think their current record puts them in a better light than they actually are. Playing three home games in a row against middle-of-the-pack teams doesn’t really give us the best yardstick to measure against. Conversely, the Rapids are a team desperate to get a comfortable win, especially at home, and Houston is giving us the best chance we’ve had all season. Hope to see everyone at DSGP this Saturday!