The New England Revolution get to play a home game? Are you sure? That’s in the rules? They get 17 of them?
Anyway, the Houston Dynamo are in town and that means we get to chat with our frenemies over at Dynamo Theory. This week Derek Stowers talks about MLS schedules and whether or not Cubo Torres is good at soccer among other things.
Be sure to check out my answers to Derek’s questions over on their site.
TBM: Okay, Houston has played three home games and gotten nine points from them while the Revs have played three road games out West and gotten just a single one point...why does it seem like this always happens in MLS? What can Houston do to get a point on the road in the East?
DS: Being a Houston Rockets fan, I’m familiar with poor scheduling as the Rockets seem to have some of the worst road trips and back-to-back games in the league so I sympathize with the Revs situation. MLS of course is worse when it comes to dealing with international breaks and somehow managing to combine that with the dreaded midweek game as well (get it together schedulers!) Meanwhile the Dynamo have enjoyed a far favorable stint of games at home, and they showed up for one half against Portland before completely collapsing in the second half.
Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera noted at the press conference following the RBNY game that it’s important for his side to play his style and not to worry about how other sides play. I think that exemplifies some of the strengths that have led to our success and to our weaknesses. Houston must go out and play their brand of fast counter attacking soccer, but they must learn how to switch into a possession team after securing a lead. If they can find a way to get a lead and then have New England chase it, they can succeed in getting at least a point.
TBM: The Dynamo went up to Portland and lost a 4-2 barnburner. What went wrong in that game for Houston and how did they correct it against RBNY?
DS: The Portland game can be described as the opening sentence in Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” as the first half felt like this Dynamo team could accomplish anything. Then the second half began and things got depressing quickly. Essentially, they fell into a theme of last season where they would sit back a bit on a lead which invited Portland back into the game. Portland’s possession based style kept us off the ball for most of the second half and because we sat in, they kept the ball higher up the field leading to more chances to comeback.
I don’t think the Dynamo did too much differently against RBNY. The biggest difference is Portland, especially at home, is a better side than RBNY on the road. A few times the Dynamo sat back on their lead, although they did it later in the game and not quite as often. One reason could be that with many of our regulars out injured or resting the backups came in ready to impress. Dylan Remick (in for DaMarcus Beasley) and Mauro Manotas both looked good in their starts.
TBM: After a bit of a rough start to his Dynamo career, is Cubo Torres good at soccer again?
DS: Yes he is and it is a night and day difference this year compared to the last season and a half. Coach Wilmer Cabrera, who was his coach at Chivas USA when Cubo first took off, has shown a tremendous amount of confidence in him and has allowed Cubo to be the fulcrum in this offense. But a lot of credit goes to Cubo as well. He showed up to preseason after losing some weight and has been scoring goals more than his traditional poacher style. He’s scoring on free kicks, he’s perfect from the penalty spot, and he’s scoring long range shots. Apart from scoring goals he’s shown better hold up play, better passing, and he’s pressing defenders with the ball more. I would say he’s playing the best soccer of his career right now and that should make opposing teams a little uneasy.
Projected Lineup (4-3-3): Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley, Jalil Anibaba, Adolfo Machado, A. J. DeLaGarza; Alex Lima, Eric Alexander, Ricardo Clark; Andrew Wenger, Erick “Cubo” Torres, Alberth Elis
Injuries: OUT: DEF George Malki, DEF Agus, DEF Leonardo. DOUBTFUL: FW Romell Quioto. QUESTIONABLE: GK Joe Willis, M Juan David Cabezas.
Predicted Outcome: 3-3 Nobody plays defense and we get lots of scoring, but not quite a satisfying end for either side.