1) The Dynamo has suffered defensively all season and conceding goals like it's out of style. Somehow, the club still stands 5 points away from the playoffs, Dominic Kinnear does not like to recruit good defenders or..?
Traditionally, Dominic Kinnear teams are some of the better defensive teams in the league. This year though, the team had to deal with the departure of veteran center back Bobby Boswell which left a huge void in the back. Dom originally planned on having a CB pairing of Jermaine Taylor and Eric Brunner, a pairing that worked well at the end of last year, but a preseason injury to Brunner paved the way for offseason acquisition David Horst. Rookie CB A.J. Cochran was also given a chance to shine at CB, as was a healthy Eric Brunner, but things just aren't clicking in the back like they used to.
Apart from these inconsistencies in the defence, over the summer (the time when the team really suffered the most this year) Brad Davis (USMNT), Oscar Boniek Garcia (Honduran National Team), and Ricardo Clark (concussion symptoms) all missed significant time and were huge pieces of our starting midfield. Having our stars out led to increased opportunities against a struggling defence.
Dom showed his commitment to defence with the signing of DaMarcus Beasley and Luis Garrido which has injected some life back into the squad.
2) It's the month of September and as I am sure everyone likes to call it: this is when Houston makes a run for the playoffs and go to the Eastern Conference Final. Will this happen again?
I certainly hope so, but would I put money down on it? Probably not. The Dynamo have looked much stronger since they signed Beasley and Garrido, but the injury bug is biting again as the Dynamo will be without starting goalkeeper Tally Hall (ACL rupture) and Jermaine Taylor (concussion). If the Dynamo stand a chance at all, they'll have to lean on their reserves and at this point in the season there is little to no margin for error.
3) With 2 recruits from Honduras, how has the local community and fan-base react to these signings? Are they 100% soccer-based signings or is the club trying to reach its Hispanophone market?
The Dynamo actually has 3 players from Honduras in Oscar Boniek Garcia, Luis Garrido, and our seldom used young DP Alexander Lopez. Houston actually does have a fairly sizeable Honduran community, but I don't think the signings were at all motivated by marketing strategies. Boniek helped make the Dynamo a more creative team with his footwork, pace, and passing, Garrido brought a defensive prowess and toughness to the midfield that was lacking, and Lopez has brought....well not a whole lot, but 2 out of 3 isn't too bad.
The lineup at this point is very hard to determine given the injuries and Kofi Sarkodie's suspension, but if I had to guess....
Deric; Beasley, Brunner, Horst, Ownby; Davis, Garrido, Clark, Boniek; Barnes, Johnson
2-1 Dynamo. The Impact have never won in Houston and though the Dynamo lineup may be weaker, I think they'll find a way to see 3 points at home.