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Downstream Game 9: Home against Houston Dynamo

New Head Coach Tab Ramos has turned Houston into a serious playoff contender.

MLS: Sporting Kansas City at Houston Dynamo Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Dynamo Stats

2020 Record: 3-2-4 W-L-T, 6th place in the Western Conference

Goals For: 16

Goals Against: 14

MLS is Back Tournament: Two points from three games against LAFC, Portland, and LA Galaxy. Did not qualify for playoffs.

Last Result: Beat SKC 2-1

The Colorado Rapids were once again unlucky, this time walking away without a win against the San Jose Earthquakes. Getting a point helps ease the pain, but still doesn’t compare to getting a real win. Once again, three points slip from our grasp.

But… is this really a case of luck or is this a trend? We got “unlucky” against Sporting Kansas City during the MLS is Back Tournament and after two red cards lost 3-2. We got “unlucky” against Minnesota United FC, scrounging up a single point during the tournament. We had two horrendous games against Real Salt Lake, then we got “unlucky” against Kansas City the second time. We got “unlucky” against San Jose.

Out of the last six games, at least four of them have been “unlucky.” Luck is something that can only apply to a single game. Every year, every team has at least one game where they absolutely smack down another team and at least one game where they get absolutely smacked themselves. “Luck” no longer applies here, and this has become a genuine trend.

Things are not looking good for the Rapids. Head Coach Robin Fraser can say all he wants to about the team just needing confidence and how it will bring them back to their winning ways, but that confidence can’t be earned if the team doesn’t get a convincing win. We have only three games left in the season (as of now). RSL round 3 is practically a guaranteed loss. FC Dallas hasn’t been great, but a win at Toyota Stadium certainly isn’t a gimme.

Though they’ve been playing well, Houston is one of the two games, in my opinion, that we can really go in and try to get three points. Things are starting to look bleak for the Rapids, but that isn’t to say that they can’t pull out any heroics and get a victory tonight. With all that being said, how does this Houston Dynamo team look as we play against them for the first time in 2020?

The Dynamo have floundered pretty badly in the last few years. They missed the playoffs in 2018 and 2019, and actually ended up below us in the standings last season. They began to remedy this situation by first signing Tab Ramos as their new head coach. Ramos, who coached the USMNT U-20s from 2011 to 2019, has turned them into a serious playoff contender.

After starting the season 0-2-4, they’ve won their last three games in a row, including a spectacular 5-2 victory over KC and a 3-0 win over Minnesota United. Ex-MNUFC striker Darwin Quintero joined Houston in the offseason and has already made an impact, scoring four goals and adding six assists. Alberth Elis has added another four goals and three assists, meaning the two of them have been combining for a strong front line (not to mention they also have Mauro Manotas and Christian Ramirez).

With the last three games, Houston has made a statement about their team. Ramos got his first wins with the team and all of them have come from their offense. But their first games showed the holes in their defense. The Rapids can’t afford to bunker against the Dynamo—this needs to be an offense-vs-offense matchup.

Sure, Houston has looked rock solid over their last three games, but we know first-hand how easy it is to go on a winning streak only to underestimate your opponent. This is essentially our last real opportunity to turn things around and get into a position where we can make playoffs. Bring the thunder, ‘Pids.