RSL Soapbox - Alright, what's the deal with Cubo Torres?
Dynamo Theory - I believe there are a few components to this answer. During the first few matches the Dynamo played, the offense looked fine (was the best for a few weeks and now is just among the best in goals finished) but in game injuries prevented Cubo from being subbed on. While the offense is finding ways to score goals, shifting up your players up top isn’t how you create consistency. Instead defensive problems have plagued the team so Cubo’s need for playing time has taken a backseat to shoring up the back and midfield.
During the preseason, Cubo never really looked in form and scored just once from the penalty spot and was essentially outcompeted by the younger Mauro Manotas who was more productive while playing a forward and midfielder. The deal with Cubo is he’s both a victim of the events that surround him in terms of priority and he hasn’t performed well enough with the time he has been given to merit additional minutes. Of course, if the defense and midfield step up, Head Coach Owen Coyle could look to find additional ways to play his young designated player.
RSL Soapbox - Houston has been inconsistent so far this year with some fantastic performances and some let downs. How do you evaluate the team and do they have an identity?
Dynamo Theory - Right now the team is still finding its feet. Coyle has largely emphasized an attacking style that produces a lot on one end, but has been susceptible to allowing goals on the other. A big problem early in the year was injuries. Starting goalkeeper Tyler Deric and right back Sheanon Williams both missed significant time. Last week Owen Coyle decided to shift things around given the team’s leaky back and played a more conservative formation that still had attacking potential. The team finally had the backline it wanted and its starting goalkeeper, but the experiment never had time to take off as Deric was sent off early in the match. I believe the team can succeed in Owen Coyle’s attacking style if the team has its optimal backline and the midfield is disciplined. That requires some time to develop and road bumps like early red cards cannot continue to happen.
RSL Soapbox - Houston has lost to RSL the last four times they have played. Houston used to dominate this match up. What is the difference?
Dynamo Theory - Well, the Dynamo used to dominate a lot of clubs, but as our core of players that helped us win our first MLS Cups retired or moved on, we’ve faded away from our glory days. Even our squads that took us to MLS Cups in 2011 and 2012, which we lost, weren’t as strong and were also seen as both holding onto the old (with our aging players from our first MLS Cups) and trying the new with Dominic Kinnear embracing new tactical formations and new players entering the fold. Then there’s the obvious answer for why we haven’t been successful with Kinnear being replaced by Owen Coyle. Last season Coyle inherited his team from Kinnear and Coyle used his time to acclimate himself to MLS which saw the team miss out on the playoffs for a 2nd consecutive season. Now he has constructed a team that is his and he will need to get Houston back to its winning ways.
Projected Lineup 4-3-2-1: Willis; Beasley, Agus, Rodriguez, Williams; Warner, Clark, Maidana; Barnes, Wenger; Bruin