We preview tonight's game at Orlando City SC with Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis. Today’s match will air live nationally on UniMás with kickoff set for 7 p.m. CDT. 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.
Matt Pedersen: The Dynamo captured their most dramatic win of the season on Saturday, a 1-0 victory over Philadelphia after Cristian Maidana’s free kick goal in the 95th minute. What were your impressions of the game?
Glenn Davis: The win over the Union certainly was dramatic and uplifting. It is amazing how that goal changes the perspective of the night in the eyes of a fan or the Dynamo players, who I thought had more desire to win the game. Maidana scoring against his old team and celebrating with his family was priceless. The Dynamo were organized, compact and that is the platform for the future.
MP: Can a true “signature win” like Saturday’s, with Maidana’s goal, springboard a team during a long season?
GD: I think all managers of teams that are going through a tough spell want to believe a singular moment or play can turn a club around. The free kick delivered three points. It can be individual, or it can be collective, but it can be an impetus to change for the better. The game would have been positioned very differently in the eyes of media and fans if the Dynamo had not won against the Union. Maidana's goal loomed so large in the context of the season.
We have seen this happen in the past, including on April 19, 2009 when Pat Onstad made an amazing double save against Colorado on a penalty from Conor Casey and a follow up attempt from Terry Cooke. That double save propelled the Dynamo forward at a time when they were struggling.
MP: Orlando City’s Cyle Larin scored 17 goals as a rookie last season and has eight more as a sophomore this year. What does the Canada international bring to the Orlando City front line?
GD: He is strong, powerful, and capable of creating his own chance by making space for himself. What a goal scoring record since coming to MLS; he is a handful.
MP: Orlando City parted ways with longtime head coach Adrian Heath on Wednesday night and will take the field tonight under the direction of assistant coaches Bobby Murphy and Anthony Pulis. What do you make of the Orlando City season and how this change could affect the squad?
GD: They have had their moments as a team but suffered from inconsistency. The coaching change, much like the Dynamo, serves notice to everyone involved and is a slap in the face that people's livelihoods are at stake. I have been on teams where players have been let go with families and it is a stark reminder that this is a job, and job security is on the line. I would expect everyone on Orlando City will be looking to remind everyone, including management, that they belong.
MP: Tonight's forecast in Orlando calls for temperatures in the mid-90s and strong humidity. The game will also be played on an artificial surface at Camping World Stadium. How might the weather affect the Dynamo tactics in this game?
GD: Heat in the summer is always an issue in MLS and it then leads to the importance of possession by teams, minimizing unforced errors on the ball, and choosing the right times to up the tempo through recognition of an opponent’s team shape. Players must be economical and smart in the type of running that they do and of course tactically you must play in a way to conserve energy for the long term of 90 minutes. The brain becomes a bigger factor with the choices and decisions that players make.
MP: The Dynamo are 3-1-3 in all competitions under interim head coach Wade Barrett. What has stood out to you about the team’s performances through seven games?
GD: What has stood out is that the players are playing for the new manager Wade Barrett. They are organized, have been good as a team collectively on the defensive side and against the Union had the better chances. The attack is still being figured out and it is tricky with the return of Giles Barnes, Cubo Torres going to the Olympics and the emergence of Mauro Manotas who can change the complexion of the team as a differing striker to Will Bruin. The future is going to be interesting in the striker position because the Dynamo will need to score more goals.