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Three things to watch for against Houston Dynamo

Last week, we asked ourselves three questions about our match against Chicago Fire. Today, we try to answer some of those and ask ourselves three more for this match against Houston Dynamo.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, we watched for ...

Is Luis Gil back?

Uh, nope. He might be back this week. We'll see, really - if it continues too much, we might want to worry a little. Not yet, but soon.

Can Sebastian Velasquez pick up his simple play he showed last season?

Velasquez was part of a fantastic turnaround when he came on, but he wasn't heavily involved. We don't have a clear answer for that right now.

Plata: Is he the real thing, or just on a great run of form?

We don't get a better answer for that right now, but all signs are pointing to Plata having improved massively over last season. Five goals bests his record last season in 20 percent as many games. There's clearly an element of form to it all, but that can't be the only thing that's improved. He gets in better positions, finishes more simply, and generally doesn't overcomplicate things as he did at the start of last season. It's not down to a massive improvement in skill but to a considerable improvement in approach and understanding.

This week, let's watch for ...

Will we finally win in Houston?

I mean, I think we can, but we haven't done it yet. We didn't get a chance last year, so this year's as good a time as any to give it a go, right? Honestly, maybe our Houston connections will be enough to see us through. Come on, Paul Dalglish and Craig Waibel. Work your black magic.

Will we defend set pieces properly?

That would be terribly, awfully, completely nice of us to do - defend set pieces with acuity and authority. Houston can score from set pieces without to much trouble, too. Will we defend them properly? Let's hope.

Do we give our World Cup departures a proper send off?

Just what we want to know: Will we win and send Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, and Alvaro Saborio off to the World Cup with a victory? (Please say yes.)