Match Preview: Houston vs. KC Wizards
Kansas City Wizards (2-1-1) at Houston Dynamo (2-2-1)
Saturday, May 1, 7:30 p.m.
Record: The Dynamo lead the all-time series 5-1-3, 4-1-3 in MLS regular season play.
Gameday Info, including soccer ball giveaway courtesy of Statoil
Hear from Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear and defender Andrew Hainault at Thursday's press conference:
What's at stake?
Houston attempts to rebound from a bad loss to Chicago in which they lost midfielder Geoff Cameron
for the season. The Dynamo’s makeshift lineup will attempt to combat
one of the hottest teams in MLS, while Kansas City will hope a road
victory against a veteran Houston squad will help position them as one of
the teams to beat in MLS.
On Oct. 4 of last season, both sides needed a win as Houston wanted
to earn home-field advantage for the playoffs, while Kansas City was
still fighting for the last playoff spot. An early red card by Cam Weaver
left the Dynamo short-handed for most of the match, but Luis Angel
Landin scored his only goal thus far in MLS, and Houston held the lead
until the 73rd minute. However, the Wizards’ Zoltan scored a beautiful
goal from a long ball played over the top of the Dynamo defense, and the match ended in a disappointing draw for both teams.
Heroes & villains
Luis Ángel Landín vs. Pablo Escobar – As
Elvis Presley sang, “It’s Now or Never,” and that expression clearly to
applies to Landin. The Dynamo forward is likely to start on Saturday,
and Houston are relying on their designated player to put together some
solid performances as the team heads into a stretch of four matches in
13 days. With Jimmy Conrad likely out, Escobar will probably get the start alongside Matt Besler. The young defender filled in well last week against Los Angeles.
Kei Kamara vs. Bobby Boswell – Kamara
made his displeasure known after he was traded from Houston to Kansas City at
the end of last season. While Kamara is contributing to Kansas City, he
is also coming off quite possibly the worst miss in MLS history.
Scoring a goal against his former teammates will go a long way in
erasing that memory and rebuilding his confidence. Boswell continues to
anchor a perennially strong Dynamo defense, though the backline has
struggled out of the gates.
Stat that makes you go "Hmm …"
The Wizards have conceded only one goal thus far in MLS play. Head
coach Peter Vermes has talked about instilling a “defense-first”
approach for the entire team, and it seems to be paying early
He said it
“We want to be physical against them, as you don’t want them to have
their way and let their confidence [on the ball] grow. We have to play
tight and physical, and there wasn’t enough of that against Chicago. We
have to up our intensity and make sure we are going in hard.” — Houston
defender Andrew Hainault.