CARSON, CA - MARCH 11: Goalkeeper Tally Hall #1 of the Houston Dynamo puts the ball in play in the first half during their MLS match against Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on March 11, 2012 in Carson, California. (Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
One of the shames of the unbalanced schedule is that teams that were developing a strong on-field rivalry are now split apart. Houston Dynamo v Seattle Sounders FC matches birthed zombie Jaqua, the Dynamo were the first team to beat Seattle in the MLS Cup Playoffs and only the LA Galaxy have played Seattle more in the MLS era. There's also Houston's strong connections to Seattle and the Sounders. It is a list long enough that someone will certainly be missed - Dominic Kinnear ('95 Sounder), Brian Ching ('01-02 Sounder), Cam Weaver (Kent native, Seattle U, '06 Sounder), Tally Hall (Gig Harbor native), Nathan Sturgis ('09-10 Sounder) and Colin Clark (actually no, he's still not my brother, just the same name).
The Dynamo have a few extraordinary players that tend to get all the attention. Brian Ching is a former United States National Teamer in the direct lineage of Brian McBride. Brad Davis is the American version of David Beckham. Geoff Cameron, now settled in at centerback, seems a perfect fit for the Klinsmann style defense with his former use as a midfielder and forward developing his passing skills. These three men shouldn't overshadow what else makes Houston win, but they do. Answering three questions today is Zach from Dynamo Theory for your preview of the 7 PM Friday match on NBC SportsNetwork.
SaH: How many target forwards (3 or 4 are on roster) will Kinnear put on the pitch at once?
DT: Since Seattle has fake grass, Ching will likely be on the bench. This seems like a prime situation to rest him and only bring him on if needed. If Kinnear follows that line of thinking, Bruin will be the lone target forward up front with likely Calen Carr starting alongside him.SaH:Brad Davis gets most of the attention on offense due to his skill set, but what does Colin Clark add from the other side?
DT: Clark is a talented enough player that he does help prevent a defense from completely focusing on Davis, but he's not a long term fix on the right. Clark is left footed, he prefers to play on the left, but is out on the right being the good solider. The biggest problem this causes for the Dynamo is Clark tends to turn inside in order to get the ball on his preferred foot. Still, he's an experienced player and is more than capable of drawing attention and being dangerous with a good shot if you lapse and forget to keep an eye on him.
SaH: The backline is led by Geoff Cameron, but is he overshadowing a strong contingent?
DT: I don't really think he's overshadowing anyone because despite the fact the Dynamo have several good defenders on the roster, they are all made better playing with Cameron. Boswell is certainly more consistent alongside Cameron and Hainault, Ashe and Taylor, the regular fullbacks, are able to be a lot more aggressive and versatile with Cameron behind them keeping things in order. Just look back at last season and compare the Dynamo's defense to before Cameron moved back. They were often disorganized, made regular positional mistakes and allowed at least one frustrating goal per match. Once Cameron was back in the defense, they went on a run that brought them within a goal of another trophy. Are the other defenders good? Absolutely, but Cameron makes them better and he deserves the respect he gets.
It should be noted that Corey Ashe is healthy again, but DynamoTheory expects Taylor to start again. There is no reverse this week.