Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. LAFC 7/3
After taking a break from league action for a week, the Dynamo welcome LAFC to Houston for a match on Tuesday. While LAFC is looking to extend their winning streak, the Dynamo are hoping to bounce back from their last league match vs. Sporting KC. Here’s the scoop:
Currently, the Dynamo sit nine points back in the league table from 3rd place LAFC, meaning this could be the start of a push up the table for the Dynamo. That push even feels a bit natural, the Dynamo played a really exceptional first half against Sporting KC. With Manotas and frankly the whole midfield on the ball a whole lot, making quality attempts inside the box. But the second half was an absolute nightmare, Sporting KC coming back to win 3-2. As I’ve mentioned before though, the Dynamo are bad on the road and match against LAFC is at home.
That said, It won’t be an easy game to walk away with a win. LAFC is playing without both Carlos Vela(Mexico) and Marco Ureña (Costa Rica) due to their nations respective World Cup runs, though Marco Ureña is on his way back to the team with Costa Rica out of the World Cup. But even with these key attackers away LAFC remained exceptional at creating scoring opportunities. Something that they proved the last match with an Adama Diomande hattrick (LAFC’s first ever) against Minnesota United. The final on that game was 4-1 in LAFC’s favor, and that’s their brand. LAFC is a team that thrives on scoring goals, getting into shootouts with other teams, relentlessly controlling the ball in midfield. All of that leads to lots of quality passes into the final third and the second most goals in the league with 35.
All that noted, Boniek Garcia and Eric Alexander are going to be critical pieces of the Dynamo’s game plan as the two defensive midfielders. Making sure that LAFC can’t dominate possession in the middle ⅓ is going to be the most important thing for the Dynamo and those two are instrumental in that endeavor. Another interesting to look for is how Wilmer Cabrera decides to deal with the defense outside of Beasley. He’s been using a mix of Fuenmayor, Senderos, Leonardo, and Lundkvist at outside back and the two center back positions recently so we’ll see.
One more thing, Elis has been in something of a goal drought in June and after watching a lot tape from before the drought and after, there’s something I noticed. Before June started, Elis was challenged physically for the ball but it was rare to see two defenders make hard challenge after hard challenge when he was on the ball. Credit to the defenders for finding a working strategy but it’s been downright stifling and a little hard to watch. It’s the difference between making hard, physical challenges and always trying to make hard and physical challenges. So I’d keep a keen eye out for how LAFC play against Manotas and Elis on the ball.
Predicted Dynamo Lineup: Willis, Beasley(C), Leonardo, Fuenmayor, Lundkvist, B. Garcia, Alexander, Martinez, Quito, Elis