Seattle Sounders fans have mostly been checking out the top of the table. The club is capable of winning the Western Conference and with good fortune could even make a run at the Supporters’ Shield. But deep in the heart of Texas is the bottom of the Western Conference. Austin, Dallas, and Houston Dynamo may be so bad that Seattle could match the three teams’ win total (New England already surpassed the bottom three in the East).
Houston’s hopes for 2021 are long gone, and a loss will officially eliminate them from playoff contention. They are focused on developing talent for 2022 and figuring out if the 9-wins-in-two-seasons coach is right for the organization. There are some bright spots in orange. They can show much by holding their own with Seattle.
For Dynamo Theory, answers Three Questions.
SaH: This may be more about the state of MLS-Texas, but is Houston’s goal for the season to now be the best of Texas, or are they just trying to build toward 2022?
DT: Very good question. Personally, I see the two goals as the same as the best way to build towards 2022. Tab Ramos needs to continue to improve this year which would be the best thing looking ahead or else we would know to re-evaluate the direction to go in if he doesn’t perform well. This is Tab’s second season as the head coach with his first being the 2020 season … so not a great year to start, but with the struggles we’ve seen and with a new majority owner, Tab will need to get the most out of his side which will help him carry favor with the fans and ownership.
SaH: Who has been the surprise in quality this season playing better than expected?
DT: There are a number of surprises this season, but probably my favorite has been that of Tyler Pasher. Pasher has gone from a USL player, to MLS, and has even featured for the Canadian national team after his hot start to the year. Unfortunately injuries have plagued him lately, but when healthy he is a dynamic winger that loves taking players on. He’s shown a knack for scoring, assisting, and drawing penalties and, if he can stay healthy, is a threat that can fly under the radar.
SaH: Tab’s successes in coaching were on youth teams. Should Houston Dynamo have leaned more heavily into a youth movement? Which youngster has benefited most from his presence?
DT: The Dynamo should have leaned into their academy side a long time ago, to be completely honest. I feel that since Tab has been at the reins he’s been a lot better at getting some of the younger players involved. Guys like Sam Junqua – who to be completely fair, many of us in the media did not see as an MLS level player as recently as last year – have really benefited from Tab’s coaching. Junqua challenged and overtook left back Adam Lundkvist’s position. Lundkvist did overtake Junqua briefly, but an injury saw Junqua more than capably come back.
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