PREVIEW – Houston Dynamo (3-2-4) travels to Colorado for their mid-week match against the Rapids (2-3-3), who are seeking their first win at home since before the MLS is Back tournament. The Rapids host Houston and will seek to cool their hot offense – and they’ll have some help courtesy of the chilly September weather.
Cold Game In Store As Colorado Rapids Host Houston Dynamo
wait wut https://t.co/fvp6pebMed
— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) September 8, 2020
The Rapids seem to have righted the ship defensively after their 1-4 humiliation against rivals Real Salt Lake in their first game of the MLS re-restart. They tied each of their next games 1-1 against first Sporting KC and then San Jose.
Part of the solution to the Rapids woes on the back line looks to be dropping a midfielder into a much deeper defensive role. It hasn’t translated to wins but at least it’s stopped the losses, and defense will continue to be a focal point in this game for Rapids head coach Robin Fraser:
“We’ve certainly felt like over the last couple of weeks we’ve defended quite well. We’ve made it difficult for teams to get opportunities . . . That’s got to be our focus. We have to continue to make it difficult for teams to get opportunities. They have so many weapons and so many players that you want to limit their ability to get to all of them. So, certainly for us, we feel like if we can continue in the fashion we have been then we give ourselves a good chance.”
The forecast snow did not materialize in time for today’s practice session, which @ColoradoRapids head coach, Robin Fraser, was grateful for as they prepare for tomorrow’s meeting with Houston Dynamo.#Rapids96 | #COLvHOU pic.twitter.com/dgXI6EyTkQ
— AltitudeTV (@AltitudeTV) September 8, 2020
As Colorado Rapids Defense Improves, Offense Plateaus
But while things have become more stable on the defensive side of the ball for the Rapids, their offense has suffered. The Rapids have failed to score more than a single goal in any of their games since the resumption of the regular season.
In their ties against Sporting KC and San Jose, the Rapids only had 10 shots in each game, with only half of those on target. When the Rapids host Houston they’ll be looking to try to involve their new designated player Younes Namli in the game more to see if they can set their offense alike once more.
“He makes us dangerous.”
Younes Namli has been bringing the heat. pic.twitter.com/xFuRA65VW2
— Colorado Rapids (@ColoradoRapids) August 31, 2020
Houston Dynamo Look To Take Win Streak To Four Straight
On the opposite side of the playoff line early in the season restart, the Houston Dynamo are on a three game win streak since the end of the MLS is Back tournament. Not only that, they’ve outscored their opponents at least two to one in each of those matches, beating Sporting KC 5-2 and then Minnesota United 3-0.
The closest they came to even being challenged came in their recent a 2-1 win over Sporting KC (who is only currently at top of the Western Conference). In that game Sporting KC started strong and opened the scoring, but couldn’t keep Houston – particularly Alberth Ellis – from clawing their way back in, and ultimately winning.
GOALS GOALS GOALS 🙌 pic.twitter.com/ohimziEELQ
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 8, 2020
“(Kansas City) knew they were playing a good team,” Houston coach Tab Ramos said after the game. “And obviously we know we’re playing a great team and I think that’s why, for me, today’s win is the most important one we’ve had so far.”
However, Ellis isn’t the only one scoring on this dynamic Dynamo team. In their three-game win streak, Christian Ramirez, Niko Hansen, Darwin Quintero, Ariel Lassiter, and Mauro Manotas have all also scored. Fraser was right: That is a lot of weapons. In fact, with his goal on September 5, Manotas reached 50 goals and became one of Houston’s all-time leading scorers.
With today’s goal, @MauroManotas19 has tied Will Bruin for second-most goals scored in league play for the club.
— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) September 6, 2020
The Dynamo will be looking to continue their win streak and will not be content to settle in for a tie. That said, it may be difficult for Houston’s offense to get going given the adverse weather conditions and the high altitude that comes with playing games in Colorado. As they showed in their recent game against Sporting KC, though, they have the ability to be dangerous until the final whistle.
If the Rapids want to be the immovable object to Houston’s unstoppable force, they can’t simply defend or sit back after scoring. They will have to keep applying offensive pressure as well by trying to involve Namli and other creative players as much as possible.
The snowstorm looks like it will probably have abated by kickoff, dashing hopes for another SnowClassico, but whether there’s snow or shine, the Rapids will try to freeze Houston’s offense in its tracks. They need to if they want stave off the chill of another disappointing home result and stay away from the very bottom of the Western Conference.