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LA Galaxy - Houston Dynamo match preview

With Houston struggling, LA should pick up all three points.

Brad Davis has been ineffective so far this season
Brad Davis has been ineffective so far this season
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

After a morale boosting effort versus the Timbers, the Galaxy return to the StubHub Center to play the Houston Dynamo Saturday March 21st at 7:30 pm, live on Time Warner Cable Sportsnet.

Two of the biggest questions for LA heading into the game appear to be answered in a single tweet.

AJ is one of the top defenders in the league, and Penedo's return to goal would bring stability to a Galaxy defense that was solid but gave up two preventable goals on Sunday.

After an impressive 28 minute cameo, will Mika Vayrynen get the start in central midfield alongside Juninho? Whether he does or not appears to be riding on his match fitness.

For Houston, the Owen Coyle era has gotten off to a rocky start as the Dynamo have struggled to form a team identity following the departure of longtime coach Dominic Kinnear in the offseason. Outplayed in their home opener vs. Columbus, the Dynamo were edged 1-0 by Orlando City last week due to a horror Tyler Deric own goal. (The replay is worth watching again just to see Kaka's reaction)

Unfortunately, Deric's mistake ruined what was otherwise a fine start to the season for the Dynamo goalkeeper -- and overshadowed another bad offensive performance from Houston, who didn't register a shot on goal.

When inheriting a team as well coached and close-knit as the Dynamo were under Kinnear, there's bound to be some growing pains. Curiously, Coyle started midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia as a forward last week, a decision the more cynical fan might label the stereotypical "Foreign manager doesn't understand MLS players" setback.

More concerning however, has been the lack of production from U.S. Men's National Team player Brad Davis. Let's take a look at his distribution charts from the first two matches.

Brad Davis Crew
Brad Davis OCSC

As you can see, the 32 year old's involvement in the final third has been non-existent.

Davis is the fulcrum of the Dynamo's offensive flow. His service from the left flank is what got him on the plane to Brazil, and has been crucial to Houston's success in the past. If the Dynamo want to make the playoffs, Coyle has got to figure out how to get Davis more involved. (He was successful at floating to the right to receive the ball, so that's something to keep an eye on)

This is a game the Galaxy need to win. Houston is solid defensively, but LA should put a few behind the net while keeping a clean sheet.

See you all at the game! Make sure to get there early if you want to snag one of these bad boys.