Well, I don't think anyone expected the Galaxy to get spanked by an expansion side, but that's exactly what happened as Orlando City steamrolled LA. As more than one MLS pundit lamented, were Orlando City that good or the Galaxy just that bad?
Fortunately, the news on the injury front was positive for Galaxy fans this week, with Jose Villarreal, Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane all potentially seeing action tonight. To preview the game, we caught up with Derek Stowers of Dynamo Theory to find out what's been going on in Houston.
LAG Confidential: When the Dynamo last visited the StubHub Center in March, the team didn't look so hot. How have Houston turned it around under Owen Coyle?
Dynamo Theory: The Dynamo were able to put together a few solid performances following their visit to the StubHub Center, but results were harder to come by. Following a bizarre draw to Sporting Kansas City and then a humiliating loss to FC Dallas, the Dynamo regrouped and were able to get back-to-back wins over Toronto and Portland. Outside of the bizarre draw and loss to Dallas, the club has had one of the league’s best defenses which the club seems to have returned to. Offense has been the problem for the club this year, but with Will Bruin finding his shooting touch and Giles Barnes playing the best soccer of his career, the goals are finally beginning to come. With the defense clicking and the offense firing, it looks like the Dynamo have turned it around.
LAG Confidential: Alex Lopez was almost a forgotten man at BBVA Stadium under Dominic Kinnear, but has five starts and eight appearances so far this season. Does the young Honduran have a future with the Dynamo?
Dynamo Theory: Alex Lopez seems to be trying much harder under Coyle than he ever did for Kinnear which has led to an increase in opportunities for the Honduran. Coyle has utilized the creative, attacking talent in several places in the midfield (LM, RM, CM) and as a 2nd forward which have shown Dynamo fans a versatility that we never knew existed. Lopez has put together a string of consistent performances that make many Dynamo fans that he does have a future in Orange. The real problem is Alex and whether or not he can be consistent. In the past his poor defending and nervous decision making has put the team in bad positions, but for now he’s passing well, is looking confident, and is coming off a game where he notched an assist.
LAG Confidential: This Thursday the Dynamo play Manchester City in the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup. Similarly, the Galaxy play Barcelona in an upcoming friendly, but most diehard LA fans just want to get the game over with, preferably without anyone getting injured or the Galaxy suffering an embarrassing result.
Are Houston fans excited for the game, or do they see this friendly vs. the English Premier League club as a cash grab?
Dynamo Theory: Well, friendly matches usually seem sedated and this one should be treated much the same. The Dynamo attempt to up the ante every year for their annual Charities match in order to continue to draw interest, but that’s a tall order. This game for instance happens during an international competition so many of the Manchester City players won’t be available so we’re left with even more of that 2nd team/3rd team feeling that takes away some of the impact. Many of us would rather watch our club get blown out by City’s best (or whomever is playing us for the Charity game), but the friendly nature and vacation vibe don’t bring the same kind of competitive atmosphere as our regular MLS games. Still, that isn’t to say there isn’t plenty to enjoy at the games. City has a deep team that should be fun to watch and I have always enjoyed watching our younger and reserve players get time. I can’t really call it a cash grab since the game is for Charity, but it’s definitely a game that lacks punch – though is fun for plenty of other reasons.
Projected Lineup: GK Tyler Deric, D DaMarcus Beasley, D Jermaine Taylor, D David Horst, D Raul Rodriguez, M Brad Davis, M Ricardo Clark, M Luis Garrido, M Oscar Boniek Garcia, F Giles Barnes, F Will Bruin
Prediction: Another 1-1 Draw.
Make sure to check out Dynamo Theory to find out my answers to Derek's questions.