Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas 8/23
This Thursday, FC Dallas will make the trek down I-45 to play the Dynamo in the Texas Derby. Getting three points from this game is crucial for Houston, who are just barely hanging on to hope for a surprise playoff run. Dallas is looking to stay on top of the Western Conference, but both teams are probably more directly concerned with bragging rights for this match.
The match against Real Salt Lake has to be considered one of the Dynamo’s most brutal losses this season. RSL’s Albert Rusnak netted twice in the final minutes of stoppage time to give RSL a 2-1 victory and a broken heart to Dynamo fans. Though it has to be said that Houston didn’t really earn three points last Saturday. Houston’s lone goal came off a fortunate deflection and the Dynamo front three weren’t impressing anyone. Beyond that, the last match was more or less the headline of the Dynamo’s season; “Defense Fails Late”.
FC Dallas’ last match saw them beat Minnesota United 2-0 for their 200th win at home. Though Minnesota was without Darwin Quintero and Ethan Finley, which defangs their attack quite a bit. Either way, the FCD defense played a solid match, allowing only eight shots on goal. However, the story of the match has to be Pablo Aranguiz. He notched his first MLS start last Saturday and made the most of it, showing off his vision and on the ball abilities multiple times throughout the night.
The Teams So Far
It’s something of an understatement to say that the Dynamo is in poor form. Houston has only won two league matches since June 1st and has lost five straight league matches. You can blame the poor play on poor officiating, on bad luck, or bad timing. But the real problem is that the Dynamo can’t finish out games. Houston has allowed 11 goals after the 80th minute this year, which is almost ⅓ of all goals they’ve allowed. Which just goes to show how inept the Dynamo defense has looked late in matches season. Outside of the horrendous defense late in matches, the offense has ironically been far from dynamic recently.
On the other side of I-45, FC Dallas seems to be cruising. While Dallas doesn’t look to be the best nor the most exciting team in the Western Conference playoff picture, they are the most comfortable. FCD has 45 points from 24 matches and looks like a lock for the playoffs, especially with Michael Barrios finding his shooting boots recently. Though there are still some concerns, Maxi Urriti’s scoreless streak stands out. FC Dallas comes into play on Thursday looking strong.
What To Look For
Alberth Elis will be back and available for selection this Thursday after serving his red card suspension on Saturday. Here’s to hoping that Elis comes back from the suspension in full “Black Panther” mode. So expect the normal front three to start for Houston and honestly, I don’t expect to see Wilmer Cabrera making many changes to the normal starting 11 besides the normal squad rotating.
On FC Dallas’ side, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Max Urriti dropped in favor of Dominique Badji. I’m also hopeful that Pablo Aranguiz gets the start, if only because he was an incredibly exciting player against the Loons last Saturday.