MLS Match Preview
Houston Dynamo VS. Orlando City FC
Time: 6PM CT
Place: BBVA Compass Stadium
Week 2 in Major League Soccer kicks off on Thursday with Orlando facing its first road test.
Historically Houston has been a tough place to earn 3 points, but before the summer heat sets on Houston, Orlando will have their sight set on a win.
Houston started their season off with a surprise win over Columbus. Still, the goal was well deserved; a clinical finish from Giles Barnes, after a beautiful, penetrating run down the right-wing from Kofi Sarkodie. Houston absorbed multiple attacks from Columbus, and found themselves defending the majority of the game.
The brightest spot on the field that night was dynamo keeper Tyler Deric, who had 6 saves and caught 7 crosses as well. Houston was outshot 8-18, and Deric had to lay out to save a couple.
This isnt the first time a relatively unknown has had a breakout preformance in goal, but he certainly will need to maintain his form while this dynamo defense learns to protect the net more.
In attack, when the dynamo did get a chance, they seemed to attack with purpose, and ultimately walked away with a quality 3 points because of it.
For Orlando, this Houston match may almost feel like an afterthought after months of buildup for the inaugural match against New York City FC last week. Orlando was able to save the draw, after a deflected Kaka free kick rolled into the net. The most viewed match of the weekend, with the highest attendance, the energy was electric, and Orlando seemed to come out guns blazing.
By halftime, with the score 0-0, Orlando had to have felt disappointed, They dominated nearly every aspect of the game, and NYCFC looked lifeless. It only took a 15 minute span of good soccer from NYCFC to take the lead after a Mix Diskerud wonderstrike. Until the dying embers of the match, it looked like a devastating result for Orlando, that feeling was even stronger once Aurelian Collin received a red card for an unnecessary challenge on David Villa. Until fortune favored the deflection, and Kaka was able to celebrate with 60,000 strong.
This weekend, don’t expect houston to change too much. Columbus may have presented a larger offensive threat than Orlando did, so we may see Houston come out with a similar game plan to last weekend, and try to exploit an Orlando defense that will be without Collin.
Houston should look the same offensively. Giles Barnes will be looking to add to his tally and will be slotted alongside Will Bruin. With Ricardo Clark and Brad Davis highlighting the Dynamo midfield, they won’t be looking to sit back all game, look for attacks forward, down the wing, and dangerous set pieces from the hosts.
Orlando will undoubtedly try and take it to Houston as the away side. The area we will see some shuffling is at center back. With Collin out, look for Sean St. Ledger to take his place. This will be an important player to watch, as he may end up slotting in next to Collin when he returns. Brek Shea will continue flying up the left side, and will surely be looking to take on Sarkodie in what will be an interesting wing battle on the same side of the field. Whoever can shut down the other defensively will have an upper hand on the outside.
There still are questions as to where Orlando Cities goals are really going to come from. Obviously, with someone like Kaka spearheading the attack, he will be the primary focus for Houston’s defense. Carlos Rivas may be a little more raw than Orlando fans would have hoped. The pacey forward was able to run at NYCFCs back line, but was caught offsides 5 times, and wasn’t able to land a shot on target. Expect Bryan Rochez to get more time in this game, as either a starter or coming on a bit earlier as a sub. If Orlando is going to produce goals this match, the most likely culprits will be Kaka and Kevin Molino, who both had a great showing .
With Houston taking 3 points they may not have gotten if they didn’t catch Columbus at the beginning of the season, they may be content to try and sit back again, and counter a team that may pile on the pressure. Look for Orlando to be as aggressive if not more than they were against NYCFC, and to try different build up play going forward. This time, they won’t be as unlucky. I see Orlando taking it to Houston at home.
2-0 Orlando City