HOU_030715_Deric_Kamara
USA TODAY Sports Images

#CLBvHOU preview with Glenn Davis

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. Saturday’s match at Columbus Crew SC will be broadcast live over-the-air on The KUBE, Channel 57 (channel guide), with pregame at 6 p.m. CT and kickoff at 6:30 p.m.

Matt Pedersen: The Dynamo lost to the Galaxy, 4-1 on Friday. It was clearly the team’s worst performance of the season, and head coach Owen Coyle didn’t shy away from it after, declaring there will be changes to the starting lineup on Saturday in Columbus. Describe Coyle’s challenge this week, striking the balance of making changes to the team while trying to avoid the possibility of over-tinkering with the lineup.

Glenn Davis: It is always a challenge if you are going to make a number of changes. But simply this is opportunity for others to get the job done. Every player must play as though they are auditioning.

MP: Team captain Giles Barnes told reporters on Tuesday that the Dynamo “have been a little too nice” on the field and called for more physicality beginning Saturday in Columbus. Do you agree with Giles’ assessment?

GD: They were strong words, but strong words without losing respect is important from a captain at this time. How do you define "nice"? That is up for interpretation, but clearly the team has given up soft goals and needs to find that inner grit and desire to go beyond the norm. You have to do more than just enough and find some impetus. You will not be successful on the road if this area does not get ratcheted up. This is a character check.

MP: Columbus comes into this game with the same record as the Dynamo, but on the heels of their first win of  the season, 3-2 over New York City FC on Saturday. What challenges will Crew SC present the Dynamo on Saturday?

GD: They press in midfield, and break quickly through [Ethan] Finlay, [Justin] Meram, [Federico] Higuain and [Kei] Kamara. Coming off their best attacking performance, the Dynamo must stand up to their pressing midfield. They work hard and that is the platform where it starts for Columbus. Federico Higuain is not a luxury player. The Argentine, noted for his range of passing and skill, works like a terrier when the ball is lost. Kamara, Finlay and Meram are all players that can run, provide movement and are in a spell of confidence when it comes to finishing plays. How quickly the Dynamo react when the ball is lost will be vital to marginalizing this group.

MP: Kei Kamara has really blossomed, from raw athleticism but inconsistent finishing early in his career to a consistent goal scorer who led MLS with 26 goals last season, including playoffs, and earned MLS Best XI honors. What have you seen in Kei from his early days in Houston to his peak now in Columbus?

GD: Kei was always someone you saw as reaching his potential. What’s not to like? He has size, strength, soft feet for a big man and desire, not to mention an excellent personality. He has so much fun with the fans. After he left the Dynamo he went to Sporting Kansas City before his course took him to Norwich, where he scored a goal in the Premier League.

MP: How important is this upcoming stretch for the Dynamo, with six of their next eight games on the road?

GD: This is a critical time period based on the amount of road games and the Dynamo road record over the last three years. It has been an area Owen Coyle and his staff have emphasized. One does not want to panic, but not seeing out two games in stoppage time and gaining only one point from the last two home games has magnified these next eight games.