We preview the upcoming game with Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis. The former professional player can be seen on national soccer broadcasts on ESPN and FOX and hosts the Soccer Matters radio show. Look for more daily soccer content from Davis on his Soccer Matters Facebook page and Twitter. Sunday’s match versus the Seattle Sounders will be broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Matt Pedersen: The Dynamo had last weekend off and an extra week to prepare for a critical two-game homestand starting Sunday vs. Seattle, followed by a visit from the LA Galaxy next Friday. The Dynamo produced two strong road performances, with three goals at New York and several quality scoring chances at Vancouver, only to lose both game. What were your impressions of Houston’s road displays?
Glenn Davis: Two very differing road matches based on the opponents. The New York match was much more open; the Dynamo had some wonderful moments in this match missing key players yet could not produce the final result. Managing the game was the issue here and the Dynamo had themselves positioned beautifully with two leads in the second half. In Vancouver they were very unfortunate not to take at least a point. They had a tough penalty called against them and then a Vancouver squad that elected to defend deep very early in the second half "daring the Dynamo" to break them down. The Dynamo hit a crossbar (Miranda) and a post (Clark) and had some nice moments of attacking football. Getting over the top to get points in these road matches is the challenge.
MP: The Dynamo midfield gained quality fill-in performances from Boniek Garcia at New York (two assists) and Leonel Miranda in both road games, including a smashed volley off the crossbar at Vancouver. Neither player started on opening day versus New England and with Giles Barnes potentially back in the starting lineup versus Seattle, head coach Owen Coyle now has a good problem to sort out – a surplus of attacking option. What do you make of the performances of the Dynamo midfield this season, and how could the lineup look against Seattle?
GD: More depth in midfield leads to greater competition or playing time. Owen Coyle has hard but wonderful decisions to make. [The option of] Giles Barnes back in the lineup will make Seattle look at the Dynamo differently. Boniek Garcia is playing well for both club and country, is it time for him to get a start? Where? Central or out wide? Does Owen Coyle want to use him from the start or have him as a wonderful option off the bench where we have seen him come into matches and have great performances. These are great questions to have at this point of the year and it will likely come down to some subtlety that only the manager will know.
MP: Seattle is 1-3 on the season but won its last game at Vancouver. The Sounders seem to be missing the creativity of Obafemi Martins, the key partner for Clint Dempsey. What are your thoughts on the Seattle attack through three games? Does Dempsey now have more pressure than he’s ever had in Seattle to carry the attacking load?
GD: They have had their chances for sure. It is not for lack of chances. With Obafemi Martins moved on they do have less unpredictability and threat behind defenses. Nothing like a player that can make his own chance off the dribble, which you lose, but you still get that with Clint Dempsey, who seems refreshed and has scored for club and country in his last two matches. Clint is a draw, is exciting to watch and will operate likely behind either Jordan Morris or Nelson Valdez (who is questionable).
MP: Seattle has experience all over the field, with Chad Marshall, Brad Evans and Tyrone Mears in the back, Osvaldo Alonso, Andreas Ivanshitz and Clint Dempsey in midfield, and Nelson Valdez up front. How does that experience help a team, especially during a slow start?
GD: Experience can't be bought, it can only be acquired through time. I am sure these players are not panicking. Experience on the road is a great asset and these players mentioned above all have banked moments, matches where they have "gone through" it. Nothing is new to them. What will be new to Seattle is a differing "purpose of play" against the Dynamo which for example caught FC Dallas cold early in the year. Seattle looks like a strong team and I think will be far more interested in Houston at this stage being 1-3.
MP: Nelson Valdez is a unique forward in that he isn’t expected to rack up a ton of goals and assists. He is expected to provide defensive effort, savvy and experience. Describe his qualities as a forward and what Sigi Schimd expects from him?
GD: Work ethic, hold up play, good decision making and a player that has been to a World Cup.
MP: Bonus question: The dynamo will host Real Sociedad in the Charities Cup on May 24. It’s the second Spanish club to come to Houston since the stadium opened in 2012. What do you think of the matchup?
GD: The club deserves great credit for bringing in a La Liga team. I loved it when Valencia came years back as it brought a different style of football into the building for the fans to see. This is what it is about, making BBVA Compass Stadium inclusive to all football and all football fans. The fact that Carlos Vela and Diego Reyes, a pair of Mexican internationals, is a great bonus. Fans come for a variety of reasons but to link up with La Liga and the history of Real Sociedad is wonderful. Unique fans will come to this match that can hopefully then become Dynamo fans!!!