Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Orlando City SC
The Houston Dynamo will be heading down to Florida to face Orlando City SC this Saturday. Houston will be hoping to continue the good form they started against the Timbers last weekend. While Orlando City tries to get their first win since mid-July
The Dynamo are coming off a veritable rout of the Portland Timbers, winning the match 4-1. The win ended a 10-game streak without a win for the Dynamo going back all the way to July. Even more important, Alberth Elis finally had a good match on a night when the offense was firing on all cylinders. Houston definitely had their fair share of mishaps, specifically the early own goal by Fuenmayor and a couple of botched shots. But Dynamo offense finally seemed to come back to life which was a relief after such a poor run of form.
Orlando’s last match was not as kind. Facing their companions at the bottom of the Eastern Conference the Chicago Fire, OCSC dropped the match 4-0. It is a score that doesn’t tell you a lot about the Fire, but may as well be a novel on Orlando City. Because every goal that was scored by Chicago was the direct result of an error by Orlando if not two or three. Star striker Dom Dwyer had multiple botched shots on goal representing Orlando only real chances. And Orlando’s defense looked downright baffled in their 9th straight game without a win.
The Teams So Far
As discussed in previous articles, the Houston Dynamo haven’t been good recently. They’re all but out of the running for the 2018 MLS Cup, doing so in terrifically terrible fashion by failing to win for 10 straight league matches. Which is why the Dynamo’s win over playoff contending Portland was so encouraging. Especially since the match was quintessentially Houston. There were plenty of counter-attacks, a headed goal from Elis, and Manotas poaching a goal. It’s too early to say that the Dynamo will be in good form going into the U.S. Open Cup Final, but it’s hard not to be optimistic.
Orlando have also not been very good recently, though their situation is a bit darker. Now officially the bob of the Eastern Conference, things aren’t looking good for Orlando. The Lions were on pace to break the record for most goals conceded in a season before Saturday, and losing by four goals certainly didn’t help. Now sitting at 66 goals conceded, just shy of Minnesota’s record of 70, it’s probable that the record will soon be Orlando’s. Though that does seem like a foregone conclusion because all the belief and vigor is absent from the team. There was little to no chemistry or energy last Saturday which came with tons of simple mistakes that could’ve been corrected with some hustle but weren’t. Add the utter lack of belief to a historically poor defensive team and things just don’t look good.
What To Watch For
Despite the fact that neither of these teams will factor into the playoff race, there is still some interesting story lines to follow. Wilmer Cabrera sets the lineup, especially since the U.S. Open Cup Final is only four days after this match. Juan David Cabezas is the big question mark after making his first appearance this past Saturday since injuring his quadriceps in May. And as always, who Cabrera picks for the back four will be noteworthy. On Orlando’s side, backup keeper Cristian Higuita missed the last match against Chicago, listed as day-to-day with a calf strain. But the player I’m watching for is Yoshimar Yotun, who returned to action last weekend and had a really good showing. I’m also going to be keeping an eye out for how Dom Dwyer fares in front of goal, after breaking away last week only to hit the ball right at the keeper.