We preview tonight’s game vs. the Seattle Sounders with Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis. TICKETS are available for tonight’s match, which will air live on ROOT SPORTS Southwest (channel guide) with the pregame show set for 7:30 p.m. CDT and kickoff at 8 p.m. 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 grabbed a two-goal lead through Ricardo Clark (in his 300th MLS appearance) and David Horst and Joe Willis made some important saves in Friday’s 2-1 road win at San Jose. What did you take away from the game?
Glenn Davis: It was gritty and determined, but as Wade Barrett mentioned, ironically it was probably not their best road game. It was an important road win in the context of this season and one to feel good about!
MP: The Dynamo have allowed just 10 goals in 12 MLS games under interim head coach Wade Barrett. What do you attribute to the defensive turnaround?
GD: The shape of the team is tighter, the lines supporting each other is better and movement in relation to the ball defensively seems better. But this will all be tested against Seattle tonight with the motion of Nicolás Lodeiro and Clint Dempsey coming deeper, and a real threat behind the defense from Jordan Morris up front.
MP: Describe the challenge for Wade Barrett to decide on who should play up front among three forwards for the final 10 games this season. Will Bruin is the experienced veteran, Erick Torres played well enough to make Mexico’s Olympic team, and Mauro Manotas has had bright performances in limited minutes this season.
GD: In a one-striker system, this is problematic, getting players time and also building confidence. The striker position has only yielded four goals this season. The manager will make the ultimate decision but in the case of Cubo Torres it is for assessment as to what you want to do with him in the future, for Manotas it is continuing to blood him by getting him experience. Three strikers and just one position makes it tough.
MP: What have you seen from Seattle’s new Designated Player Nicolás Lodeiro, a veteran of two FIFA World Cups with Uruguay who has played for Boca Juniors, Ajax and Corinthians, among others. He’s only played in four games but he’s clearly changed Seattle’s fortunes. Are you surprised one player can do so much to lift a club?
GD: I am not surprised. He was a talented playmaker at Boca Juniors with huge experience for Uruguay in World Cups. The timing of his signing has lifted the club and has allowed others more freedom and boosted their link up play. One goal and four assists in four games is a great start. He is constantly in motion, difficult to track and so good on the ball. The more he gets the ball, the more good decisions the Sounders will get. He is a difference maker who will likely get them into the playoffs.
MP: It seems like Lodeiro has brought the best out of Dempsey, who looks rejuvenated since the Uruguayan arrived. How was Lodeiro helped Dempsey?
GD: Skilled players generally like playing with skilled players. It is his quality around Dempsey that seems to be making the game more fun. Sigi Schmid, the former manager, is the one who got Lodeiro to Seattle. They seek each other out, play off each other and are a wonderful complement to each other through movement, passing and ideas.
MP: Sounders forward Jordan Morris has eight goals, tied for the team lead and most among MLS rookies. What are your impressions of the young forward with a few caps for the U.S. national team?
GD: He is a great talent with strength and power, but the most important thing that complements that is he can get behind defenses with his pace. In a lone striker set up you have to have a threat behind defenses. He is humble, hardworking and has a great future! He has the frame and build to play in the Premier League one day if he continues to develop.
MP: Finally, tonight pits two interim head coaches with deep ties to their clubs in Wade Barrett and Brian Schmetzer. What do you think of their respective situations and their similar histories?
GD: I believe Wade Barrett from my interviews with Dynamo president Chris Canetti and GM Matt Jordan will get the job if he hasn't already. As for Brian Schmetzer in Seattle, with the pressure of that market I believe he needs to get in the playoffs and make a great run to secure the full time position. They are two men with experience for sure!