tBG) How will this Houston Dynamo team differ from the team that drew the Philadelphia Union back on April 19?
DT) Brad Davis will be healthy, which is a huge boost to the team. By simply having Davis on the field changes the energy, creativity, and effectiveness of this Houston Dynamo team. The team has been bolstered by the arrival of DaMarcus Beasley and Luis Garrido which will make it more difficult for this team to be scored on while providing support in the attack.
tBG) How has DaMarcus Beasley improved the Dynamo since coming over from Liga MX side Puebla?
DT) Beasley has taken over Corey Ashe's spot at left back and noticing the differences between the two can be a bit difficult. Both are speedy left backs that like to get involved in the offense. However, DMB's positioning is better and he is able to come in and help cover for the center backs, his decision making in the back is better, and he's a much smarter passer both out of the back and higher up the pitch. Ashe is a great left back, no question about it, but Beasley is an upgrade that provides veteran leadership which can calm an uncharacteristically leaky Dynamo defense.
tBG) Houston is currently on the outside looking in with regards to the playoffs. What has caused the team to be so far out of the hunt and what are they doing to turn it around?
DT) First, thank goodness we're in the Eastern Conference or else we'd be in real trouble. I believe that injuries and call ups were the most significant factor in our team's success...or lack thereof. Yes we've had more than a few blunders in the back, and our offensive production could be better, but arguably our three best players - Oscar Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, and Brad Davis - have all missed significant time with the team because of injuries and call ups. When three out of the four midfielders miss a lot of time and they're you're best players, the results won't be kind.
The team has remedied things with the additions of Beasley and Garrido. I've already talked about the kind of help that DMB provides,but Garrido adds toughness to the midfield. Garrido and Clark will both play in the central midfield and make things extremely difficult for anyone looking to string passes together. With control of the midfield, the Dynamo can string together some creative runs through Brad Davis or Boniek Garcia in order to make things happen on the offensive end. At least that's the plan.
Predicted lineup: Tally Hall; DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Taylor, David Horst, Kofi Sarkodie; Brad Davis, Ricardo Clark, Luis Garrido, Boniek Garcia; Giles Barnes, Omar Cummings (unless Will Bruin is healthy, then it's Bruin).
Predicted score: 3-1 Dynamo. The team is starting to come together with the new additions and even looked decent for extended periods in the difficult confines of Seattle. A combination of tired legs and Texas heat will make it difficult for Philadelphia while the Dynamo are looking to start their annual playoff run.