The New England Revolution desperately need some home-cooking (on brand new turf!) this weekend to shake off last Saturday's loss to rivals D.C. United. Can they overcome the Houston Dynamo, who absolutely spanked them in the season opener, and find three points (or even just a goal?). We spoke with Dynamo Theory's Alicia Tolar to get the low-down on the creamsicles ahead of this weekend's clash. (Oh, and we answered some of their questions, too.)
TBM: So the Dynamo probably couldn't have started any better when they spanked the Revs 4-0 in week one. From your perspective, what did you see that allowed Houston so much success?
AT: The victory over the Revs may have had more to do with what the Revs didn't do than what we did. The Revs defense was a completely disaster which allowed the Dynamo to put up such an impressive score line. They also offered up little challenge for the Dynamo's backline or goalkeeper Tally Hall.
The disastrous defense allowed Will Bruin to go on a scoring run. The Dynamo were able to exploit everything that was wrong with New England. Our defense has improved from last season, but the Dynamo still need to come out attacking and push forward. Falling behind is disastrous for them and once they are able to grab a lead they pour on the coals and end up with large scorelines like the 4-0 victory.
TBM: Speaking of the Dynamo's start, you had the win over us and the win over Montreal, and since you've had two losses. Including a real bad loss to your Texas rivals, Dallas. What's changed? Is it quality of opposition, or is there something wrong with the Dynamo?
AT: It's a combination of things. The first two wins were at home, a place that the Dynamo are always stronger, against weaker opponents. When they had to travel to play Vancouver they came up against a tougher team. Combine that with the magical force field that causes the team to fall apart as soon as they cross into Canada and the result actually became a positive one for fans. Had a few breaks gone the teams way they would have come out with at least a tie.
Dallas, we played Dallas? That is a game fans would prefer to forget and to some degree an outlier. The game changed greatly on the red card, a very debatable red card, that was issued to defender David Horst which was then followed by Brad Davis exiting the game injured. The goal deficit was created by the team completely falling apart for about ten minutes after the red card was issued.
But in all of the games the team has played the quality of passing has left something to be desired. They are giving up turnovers at inopportune times and costing themselves shots on goal as a result. Defensive questions have grown each week as mental lapses have cost the team big.
TBM: You had some strong words concerning Will Bruin last time we spoke. With a couple of games in the books here in 2014, do you feel your misgivings were valid, or have you started to lean towards the opinion that he'll come around this year?
AT: Well opinion on Bruin was pretty low before the season started. I don't know that it has really gone up too much. Bruin had great first two games but his production since coming up against tougher opponents has fallen off. The goals he scored in the first two games were shots that he wouldn't have taken last season he would have put in one touch too many and bungled the shot. But the last two game he started to look more like the Bruin of last season who couldn't seem to keep his shots on frame and he still isn't doing anything with balls over the top.
TBM: Which player do you think the Dynamo fear most on the pitch for New England?
Goncalves. He is the type of defender who is able to negate what Bruin does which can kill our attack. We need Bruin to have a good game for us to be successful, like the last time we played, if our attack gets shut down we are in trouble.
TBM: Finally, let's have your projected starting XI and a scoreline prediction.
Hall; Sarkodie, Cochran, Taylor, Ashe; Driver, Clark, García, Davis; Barnes, Bruin
Score: 1-1 The Dynamo backline will probably leak a goal that even The Wall Hall won't be able to save.