RSL Soapbox) Does the Houston Dynamo and their fans think MLS Playoffs are within reach and how important is this game?
Dynamo Theory) I think many fans saw this year as a bit of a rebuild with a new coach from day 1. While Dynamo President Chris Canetti explained in the offseason that this team will compete in 2015, many fans saw a lot of similar faces from last year's squad that failed to make the playoffs still in integral roles with the team and immediately thought otherwise. I tend to think misfortune through call-ups and injuries is the primary reason the team failed to make the playoffs in 2014 and could be the reason in 2015, other fans have been very vocal in their criticism and have made plenty of predictions that this team will not make the playoffs this year.
There are those among us that are hopeful that the team will win the right games and results around the league will be favorable to a playoff run. That must start against Real Salt Lake and continue into every game - especially home games.
RSL Soapbox) Where is Brad Davis in his career and do you think he has lost a step?
Dynamo Theory) I think the Dynamo Captain still has a few good years in him and what's impressed me most about him this season is his adaptability. Throughout his career he's been primarily been utilized as a left midfielder, and at times a central attacking midfielder. This year he's seen time on the right side of the midfield, at his familiar left mid position, in central midfield, and even as a forward. Pushing him into central positions has helped cover for his lack of pace, which I believe has been somewhat exaggerated over the years. Davis routinely is among the top assist producers in the league and that remains true in this season which is largely due to his fantastic service on set pieces and over the course of live play. Perhaps Davis has lost a bit of a step in the speed category, but he's still finding ways to produce which is what matters in the end. If Davis can stay in shape, stay health, and be useful in multiple positions then he can be utilized for a few more years.
RSL Soapbox) Did you see increased confidence or improved play from Giles Barnes after Jamaica's Gold Cup run?
Dynamo Theory) I wrote last week about potential benefits and set backs from the international break and touched on this issue. Ever since Barnes declared that he wanted to play for Jamaica his level of play has increased. That continued to grow each time he played for Jamaica, but after the Gold Cup there wasn't the usual uptick in his development that traditionally accompanied his time with the Jamaican National Team. Rather, we saw a bit of a regression in his play. Owen Coyle speculated that a lot of that had to do with how long Jamaica had stayed in the tournament and how often Barnes had been utilized which likely led to fatigue on his return.
Barnes recently played for Jamaica in a home-and-home World Cup Qualifier with Nicaragua, and though Barnes went the full 90 in the first leg, he sat out in the 2nd which should help revitalize him moving forward with the Dynamo.
For RSL Soapbox's answers to Dynamo Theory's questions, go here.