The Houston Dynamo kick off their first test on the road when they face off against D.C. United on Saturday (12:30 p.m., KUBE 57). La Naranja are looking to return with a win as they did the last time they visited the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area.
This time, however, the setting will be a different one. The matinee match will take place at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, MD, due to the ongoing construction of Audi Field – the new home of D.C. United that is expected to open in July. The 'Plex, regularly home to the Washington Spirit in the NWSL, has a listed capacity of 4,000 with fans just yards away from the playing field.
“It’s going to be a different feeling being at D.C. and not playing a game at RFK Stadium,” said Dynamo assistant coach Davy Arnaud. “While I was there we did play our [Lamar Hunt U.S.] Open Cup games where we will play on Saturday, so I have been there before. Obviously, when you are at D.C. you are used to playing at RFK. It has been a big part of the club’s history.”
Now in his second season as an assistant to Wilmer Cabrera, Arnaud played the final two of his 14 seasons in MLS with the Black-and-Red in 2014 and 2015, featuring in over 50 matches. The Nederland, Texas native and former U.S. men’s national team midfielder joined the D.C. United coaching staff upon retirement, serving as an assistant in 2016 to Ben Olsen.
Arnaud isn’t the only one on the Dynamo with ties to Saturday’s venue. A 2005 NCAA Champion with the University of Maryland, Dynamo goalkeeper Chris Seitz also knows the setting.
“It’s been a long time.” said Seitz. “I’ve played there in youth tournaments as well as a couple times with the University of Maryland so I know the facility. I haven’t been back in probably 13 years so it’s been a long time.”
Seitz joined the Dynamo in the offseason during free agency and has started for the club in their first two matches. He has allowed only one goal from the run of play and posted a shutout in the home opener against Atlanta United FC.
He was a key component of FC Dallas’ double in 2016 that led the Dynamo’s rival to a U.S Open Cup and Supporters Shield title. Seitz featured in 28 regular season bouts and led his team to the best road record by a Western Conference team that season – a performance he sounds ready to match with the Dynamo.
“In order to do well in this league you have to find results on the road and we’re prepared to do that,” said Seitz. “They’re dangerous going forward and they’re dangerous on set pieces as well. Their attacking five is as good as any in this league and, defensively, we have to go in there with a solid game plan and execute.”