New England Soccer Today

Scouting the Opposition: A Look at the Houston Dynamo with Glenn Davis

Prior to each match, New England Soccer Today will invite a reporter from the other side to provide insight regarding the Revolution’s next opponent.

This week, Houston Chronicle writer and host of the Soccer Hour, Glenn Davis, shared his thoughts on the state of Houston Dynamo and what the Revs can expect when they face them at Robertson Stadium in Houston on Sunday Night.

What is Houston’s current form? How have they been at home lately?

Glenn Davis: It’s the first time they’ve won a game and tied a game consecutively. They haven’t won two games in a row. They are probably much like New England, just trying to finish off the year on a positive note and figuring out what’s going to occur in the future, who is going to be retained and start rebuilding for next year. Their form has been indifferent at home and I think they go back to [May 29th] where they played Philadelphia and the Union beat them in stoppage time. I think at that point it was sort of that feeling that this was a difficult team to beat at home, but they’ve had tough games at home this year and they haven’t been particularly good.

The New England Revolution travel to take on the Houston Dynamo at Robertson Stadium in Houston, TX. on Sunday at 8:30PM.

I think the last couple of games they had good first half against teams like Toronto and San Jose and then followed that with a less than stellar second half and lost those games actually. I think they are much like New England; they’ve had a hard time putting 90 minutes together.

What line-up will Houston likely play? Should the Revs expect to see their starters?

Davis: Everything I hear with [Dynamo head coach] Dominic Kinnear is they want to go out this year winning games. I don’t think there is any question they want to go out of the season winning. I wouldn’t expect many changes from Philadelphia. Obviously up front something is going to happen with Brian Ching being injured, so the option there is most likely Cam Weaver.

(Starting Line-up Prediction based on Davis’ information: Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault, Richard Mulrooney, Adrian Serioux, Ryan Cochrane, Brad Davis, Corey Ashe, Lovel Palmer, Geoff Cameron, Cam Weaver, Dominic Oduro )

Are there any other key injuries outside of Ching?

Davis: Anthony Obodai, who came to the Dynamo from the Dutch Eredivisie tore his meniscus, so he’s out. Back-up goalkeeper Tally Hall is out. He turned his ankle. That pretty much covers it.

What are the key changes from the 2006-07 Dynamo squads that faced the Revs in the MLS Cup final two consecutive years?

Davis: I think a lot of things have changed. Sometimes you have to understand that in this league these things do happen, but saying that, when you lose a Ricardo Clark and you lose Stuart Holden, you’ve lost two of the top players in the league at that position. Two U.S. Internationals that’s not easy to replace and the Dynamo currently haven’t been able to replace that although Lovel Palmer has shown some signs. But those two guys, they were the fulcrum of this team as far as controlling the middle third of the field, protecting the back four. Everybody points to Holden and even going back to Dwayne De Rosario, but Clark, I think we all know, is a guy that covers a ton of ground, not only up and down, but laterally in front of the defense. I think you’ve got to look at his lose as well.

Also, players have gotten older. I don’t think you can sugarcoat that unfortunately. Athletes are not like musicians, you decline in years and you lose some things. Some guys are able to nurture their careers out longer than others. I think that’s a part of it.

I’m sure there is a piece in there where they have not been lucky in certain games. I think with some good fortune they might have had another nine points right now and be fighting for that final playoff spot. Geoff Cameron getting hurt earlier in the year probably didn’t help a whole lot, but they haven’t been able to put 90 minutes together. There is nobody who can say they’ve had better than a mediocre season on this team.

What have been Houston’s weaknesses that other teams have been able to exploit?

Davis: I think they’ve had a hard time during the year, first and foremost, just building off good possession, penetrating and getting good wide play and then I think they’ve been punished for self-inflicted mistakes. I don’t think there is any question, individually or collectively. They’ve had nights where individuals have made mistakes that have been punished severely.

What have been Houston’s strengths? What will they need to do to beat the Revs?

Davis: If they are going to win this game, coming in with confidence [is important]. They won a game in D.C., they drew in Philadelphia and quite frankly were the better team I thought. The whole playoff scene is out and over with. Sometimes that drops pressure. Nobody’s thinking ‘we can make it’ and doing the math and all this. Now it’s just about playing and playing for jobs and futures and leaving a positive impression on people and winning games as you close it out.

What Houston players should viewers keep an eye on Sunday?

Davis: I think one of the great areas to look at in this game is probably with Geoff Cameron and Lovel Palmer in central midfield probably banging heads there like two immovable objects with [the Revs’] Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan. I don’t think this is going to be a very pretty game. I think it’s going to be an extremely physical game and I think lots of teams have the attitude at Robertson Stadium that we’ll get in there and get the ball in the penalty area as much as possible on a smaller field.

Glenn Davis’ coverage of the Houston Dynamo can be seen on his site as well as in the Houston Chronicle, Follow Glenn twitter @SoccerMattersGD

Davis is a nationally recognized broadcaster, writer, and radio host.

He currently is a play by play announcer for HDNET/ESPN/FOX calling the last two World Cups for ESPN, an MLS game of the week for HDNET, and hosts the ‘US Youth Soccer Show’ for Fox Soccer Channel.

Davis also hosts the popular ‘Soccer Hour with Glenn Davis’ on 790 AM radio in Houston, Texas. Previously his show ran on public radio at 90.1 KPFT radio for 3 years.

His popular columns in the Houston Chronicle have helped grow awareness of the sport in one of America’s great soccer cities.
He recently received a Lifetime Achievment award at Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia for his dedication and service to soccer at all levels. He was nominated by former U.S. Soccer President Hank Steinbrecher also an alumnus.

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