tBG) Houston is on the verge of missing the playoffs for only the second time in club history. What would missing the playoffs mean for the Dynamo as an organization and as a fan base?
DT) Whenever there is a chance the Dynamo might miss the playoffs, fans begin to enter panic mode. I’ve heard fans calling for Dominic Kinnear’s job (he’s basically tenured) and for the front office to blow up the team and begin rebuilding. In reality, it still sucks, but it isn’t quite the meltdown that some would want you to believe. The season was hit with tons of injuries (3 ACL injuries and 2 concussions among others) and we’ve still got an outside shot at making the playoffs (well, an outside shot from the parking lot still counts as an outside shot).
The Dynamo will make some changes to their lineup next year to clear the way for other signings, but I expect the core of the Dynamo to remain intact. If we do in fact miss the playoffs (likely), it obviously won’t be the end of the world to our organization.
tBG) Houston was the last team to beat Philadelphia in MLS play. What worked so well then, and how will Dominic Kinnear and the guys look to repeat that performance?
DT) Being at home helped. While the Dynamo have struggled on the road all year, the points at home have been keeping us afloat. Our last home loss was June 6th against FC Dallas. Apart from that, our new signings Luis Garrido and DaMarcus Beasley had slotted in nicely into the starting lineup which helped solidify our defensive composure. Offensively, the Will Bruin and Giles Barnes partnership up top was working very well as the two were able to link up for the game’s first goal.
Looking ahead, it won’t be easy. The injury bug is biting again in Houston (and it isn’t the mosquitoes). Starting goalkeeper Tally Hall recently had surgery to repair his ACL, defender Jermaine Taylor has concussion symptoms, leading goal scorer Will Bruin has an injured ankle, and Boniek Garcia may be out as well following his premature exit in last week’s match against the after he reported blurry vision, a concussion symptom. It will be up to the bench with players like Omar Cummings leading the way.
tBG) I know most Union fans don't like the Dynamo, spurring from the 2011 MLS Playoffs where they beat the Union 3-1 on aggregate. What's the overall feeling of Dynamo fans toward us, since we're in the same conference but not geographic or historical rivals?
DT) I think the Dynamo pick up a lot of rivals wherever they play and a lot of that has to do with how the team plays and the fact they’ve made it to the MLS Cup 4 years in their short existence, which means they’ve stepped on a lot of teams’ hopes. They can be stubbornly physical and defensively oriented at times which makes them easy to not like. I don’t think many would ever call the Dynamo a dirty team, but physical does sum up their style of play, at least historically.
I don’t think many Dynamo fans have bad blood towards Philadelphia. I think over the years we’ve developed rivalries with FC Dallas (they’re actually in a suburb called Frisco so we call them Frisco), Sporting Kansas City for our Eastern Conference title clashes, which are always physical bouts, the LA Galaxy for our back to back MLS Cup losses, and going all the way back the New England Revolution for our back to back MLS Cup victories. Of course, every fan has a reason to not like another team so there probably are some that don’t like the Union.
Predicted Lineup: Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley, A.J. Cochran, David Horst, Kofi Sarkodie; Brad Davis, Ricardo Clark, Luis Garrido, Andrew Driver; Giles Barnes, Omar Cummings
Predicted Score: 3-1 Union, the shorthanded Dynamo can’t get it done on the road.