The Montreal Impact return to Stade Saputo on Saturday evening to take on the Houston Dynamo. Houston has struggled on the road this season and has failed to win away from the state of Texas. The Impact will be without Didier Drogba as he is serving a one-match suspension after picking up a red card against D.C. United last weekend. Saturday evening could see newcomers Hernan Bernardello and Matteo Mancosu make their first starters for the Impact.
Mount Royal Soccer has turned towards our friends at Dynamo Theory in order to get some perspective on Houston's season up to this point:
1 - Matt Jordan is a well known name in Montreal, playing 13 years here, before taking on a role in the front office. How has he fared so far in Houston? How do supporters feel about his work so far with the Dynamo?
So much of what a General Manager does is tied to the success of the team which is why there are a few mixed feelings about Matt Jordan’s performance so far among the Dynamo faithful. He seems to be very good at finding talent abroad and bringing them into Houston. During this summer transfer window he’s utilized loan-to-buy contracts which gives him insight into a player without the club taking on long term risk. However, it all comes down to results and the Dynamo simply aren’t living up to their winning reputation which puts pressure on Matt Jordan, the coaching staff, and the players themselves.
2 - Houston has not recorded a victory on the road this season. What has been at the heart of their struggles away from home?
This is a difficult question to answer. The team remains competitive in nearly every single game that they’ve played with the exception of 2 matches (home game against LA Galaxy and an away fixture against the San Jose Earthquakes). By that I mean they’ve only lost 2 games by more than 1 goal which means they’ve left points on the table by not equalizing or have let teams back into games.
The problem the Dynamo really have is with their identity and they don’t know if they’re an attacking team one day – which they were early in the year, or a defensive team another – which they are now. What they need is balance and while interim head coach Wade Barrett has inserted some toughness in them on the defensive side, goals have come very sparingly. Simply put, the team needs to support the offense while not giving up too much on the defensive side. That sounds simple, but it’s true at home and on the road and is at the heart of our struggles.
3 - Who is one player the Montreal Impact defence should watch out for on Saturday evening?
Considering the Dynamo have scored just 2 goals in 5 games I don’t think there is too much to fret over if I were an Impact fan. However, there are plenty of options that, with a few adjustments, could yield goals. Will Bruin is a proven goal scorer in this league and if he is given the right amount of support he will be the one to worry over. If Wade Barrett elects to return to the 4-4-2 his strike partner, likely Andrew Wenger or Mauro Manotas, will have to make the right runs and take some pressure off Bruin being the only man up top. If we continue with Barrett’s 4-1-4-1 our wing players and CM’s MUST press higher up the pitch for Bruin to lay off passes or for them to find his runs. Bruin is limited with what he can do as a center forward, but in the right system he can devastate defenses.
Projected Lineup, 4-1-4-1: Joe Willis; Abdoulie Mansally, Jalil Anibaba, David Horst, Sheanon Williams; Collen Warner; Boniek Garcia, Eric Alexander, Ricardo Clark, Andrew Wenger; Will Bruin
Predicted Outcome: 2-2 draw. The Dynamo show promise in their offense but once again can’t get a win away from home.
*A big thanks to Derek Stowers at Dynamo Theory for taking the time to contribute to this article.