We preview Saturday's game against the Chicago Fire with Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis. The match will air on ROOT SPORTS Southwest (3:30 p.m. pregame show; CHANNEL GUIDE). Davis, a 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.
HoustonDynamo.com: The Dynamo have played well enough on the road to capture points, aside from the San Jose match, but have come up empty-handed five times. What do the they need to do to translate quality of play into results and come home with three points?
Glenn Davis: Four out of five games on the road the Dynamo have lost by a singular goal and were positioned at times in the second half with leads. We have mentioned that this has been a trend over the years and one wonders if this has become habitual. Do the Dynamo lose concentration on the road? Surely this is something that they are all working on, but the basis likely goes back to concentration over 90 minutes and game management which talking to the players this week is something they are all aware. Chicago, for instance, played a wonderful road game at New York Red Bulls in Harrison. They failed to take chances, made one mistake on a poor back pass and that was the difference. The margins on the road seem slimmer.
HD: Chicago has scored the fewest goals of any team in the league, but has also proven to be very difficult to score on. How can the Dynamo break them down and create chances?
GD: Combination play, individuals off the dribble at the right time, recognizing when the Fire have lost their shape and upping the tempo to go forward. They seem to funnel back in centrally when they lose the ball, so it could be a great day for Dynamo wide men Giles Barnes and Andrew Wenger.
HD: Chicago is in much the same position that Houston was in two weeks ago hosting Sporting Kansas City. They’re at the bottom of the table and are winless in their last six outings. For a Dynamo team that has struggled on the road as we already discussed, how important is it to start fast and get that first goal?
GD: Starting fast but starting responsible. Getting the first goal in matches can dictate tactics and also on the road obviously be a confidence builder. In the case of the Fire, it could bring self doubt—although Wednesday they looked a resilient bunch. I still believe they are a dangerous animal despite the record.
HD: After struggling to close out games early on, the Dynamo were able to see a one-goal lead through on Sunday against Real Salt Lake. What stood out to you about that performance, and how do they translate that into consistent results moving forward?
GD: Strong defensive effort limiting the likes of Burrito Martinez, Javier Morales and Yura Movsisyan to few chances. Team shape, ball possession, decision making, work ethic were solid, and it helped them manage the game and play it the way they wanted. All elements that I am sure the Dynamo and Owen Coyle want to replicate on the road. Getting that first road win is essential! Hopefully it is in Chicago.
HD: With Erick Torres off with the Mexico U-23 team in Toulon, Mauro Manotas seems poised to get another opportunity after scoring in his last two outings with RGV FC. How important is it for young players like him (as well as guys like Rob Lovejoy and Zach Steinberger) to be able to get game action during the season with RGV and stay sharp?
GD: Very important, we have seen players come and go in MLS based on the fact that they never got games. Training is one part of the puzzle when it comes to player development, and the league and the Dynamo are headed in the right direction. Motivationally, to get games is important and to have possibility is important, to be monitored is to be valued. I have looked into the eyes of players and seen that based on no playing time they had lost desire. With USL affiliates and improved set-ups, the future for developing your own becomes essential. One day we should see the Dynamo come out of the tunnel at BBVA Compass Stadium with multiple area locals in the starting lineup. You have to believe it can happen, but there are no shortcuts.