The Houston Dynamo have six wins over the Seattle Sounders in their history, all of them in Houston. It’s been a tough place for Seattle to visit over the years. There’s the heat and humidity. This year there’s also a Dynamo side that is 5-0-1 at home.
With Seattle’s injury crises and Ben Olsen having a strong start to his Houston career, Saturday’s game (5:39 PM PT, MLS Season Pass) will be a struggle. Will the rested veterans for both teams be able to give their fans a show?
For Bayou City Soccer, Dustyn answers four questions.
SaH: What’s unique about the Dynamo that help them towards home wins? I feel like Seattle loses there too much.
BCS: Seattle isn’t the only team. The Dynamo have now played 6 games in all competitions at Shell Energy Stadium and have won five and drawn one. Maybe even more impressive, they have yet to concede a goal. The easy reason for why is the heat and humidity, but we really haven’t hit the “dog days of summer” yet in south Texas. Honestly, Shell Energy Stadium, as it is now named, is just a tough place to play. The Dynamo tend to suffocate teams, with the help of the weather, and this year is no different.
SaH: Does Houston care about the Open Cup enough that they’ll bench good players this weekend?
BCS: The Dynamo made 10 changes to their lineup from the past weekend in their win over Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night. Ethan Bartlow was the only regular that played and he was subbed out at halftime. It should be a full first choice eleven for Houston on Saturday.
SaH: Seems weird to wait this long, but Ben Olsen is the coach now. How does he fit into the south Texas environment?
BCS: A lot of fans were anywhere from unsure to upset about the hire originally, but Olsen is proving the doubters wrong early. His defensive style of play and muddying up the midfield is proving to work well with what I talked about before, with the Dynamo suffocating opponents. Fans want to see the flashy exciting soccer, but the results matter and so far Olsen is getting them.
SaH: How does the Dynamo defense plan to stop an attack built around speed?
BCS: This is a really good question that I am interested to see unfold on the field. The Dynamo have used Daniel Steres — a natural centerback — at right back this season, and Franco Escobar — a natural right back — at left back. It is going to be a new test for this Dynamo team coming up against a team that loves to attack on the wings. Escobar is usually given the freedom to get forward on the left while Steres stays home on the right to essentially establish a back three with the two centerbacks. I think Seattle is going to want to play wide and the Dynamo are going to try and force them inside. It is going to be a fun tactical battle to watch.
Check out Bayou City’s previews and the reverse.