MLS Regular Season
The Dynamo begin their most important week of the season on Sunday with Eastern Conference co-leader D.C. United visiting Houston to start a three-game homestand for the Dynamo. The critical stretch includes three games in seven days against Eastern Conference foes, with matches against Sporting Kansas City (tied with United for first place in the East) on Wednesday, and the Montreal Impact (four points behind Houston) on July 21.
Three games; seven days.
That’s the workload for the Houston Dynamo next week as they face Eastern Conference foes D.C. United, Sporting Kansas City and the Montreal Impact in quick succession. Thankfully, reinforcements are coming in the form of two key players: Calen Carr and Je-Vaughn Watson.
As the Houston Dynamo look to kick off their second-half push, the club is looking to strike a long sought-after balance between attack and defense.
Throughout the first half of the season, the Dynamo have been strong in either defense or attack, but have struggled to put together complete performances on a consistent basis. Houston have pitched six shutouts in 2012, but have scored just three goals in those matches. Conversely, in games where Houston have scored two or more goals, the club has a record of 2-2-3, giving up 16 goals in the process.
Dynamo defender Jermaine Taylor has been named to the MLS Team of the Week for Week 18. Taylor played center back against the Chicago Fire and Sporting Kansas City and anchored a defense that posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since May. The Jamaican international went toe-to-toe with second-year sensation C.J. Sapong, provided strong coverage for the midfield and helped clean up loose balls in front of the goal.
Below is the Injury Report, presented by The Methodist Hospital System as of Tuesday, July 10.
HOUSTON DYNAMO -- PROBABLE: MF Calen Carr (L hamstring strain); MF Je-Vaughn Watson (L adductor strain)
D.C. UNITED -- OUT: MF Lance Rozeboom (L knee ACL tear)
No goals scored this week, but none allowed by the Dynamo as they grabbed a pair of 0-0 draws. On Tuesday, the Dynamo welcomed the Chicago Fire into town for their second meeting of the season. Their previous encounter was cut short due to lightning and ended in a 1-1 draw. The second time around didn't provide any separation between the two clubs. By all accounts, Houston was much more likely to grab a goal and the win, but Chicago was stout defensively and didn't allow any openings. Saturday's matchup was another tough one, as the Dynamo traveled to Sporting Kansas City.
While the Houston Dynamo may still be getting used to all the facets of a new formation, one aspect they have picked up on is how to use the 4-3-3 to their advantage defensively.
Against a multi-faceted Sporting Kansas City attack on Saturday the Dynamo showed just what it can do to limit an opponent’s chances. Sporting KC took 17 shots, but only four were on goal, and Jacob Peterson’s first-half shot off the post was the only one to come close to breaking through in the teams’ scoreless draw.
Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Sporting Kansas City’s solid defensive effort moved them back into a share of the Eastern Conference lead, but their continued struggles to score from anywhere but the penalty spot kept them from taking the top spot all for themselves.
Sporting outshot the Houston Dynamo 17-7 on a sweltering Saturday night at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, with the mercury at 104 degrees at kickoff, but they had to settle for a scoreless draw. That moved Kansas City (10-5-3, 33 points) into a first-place tie with D.C. United.