Preview: Houston Dynamo FC vs Nashville SC

After three straight matches at home, Nashville SC head back out on the road. Tonight, they take on a struggling Houston Dynamo team who are looking to snap their winless streak. Can Nashville make it two straight wins in the league? Will Houston pick up some much needed points at home?

Houston Dynamo FC

Current standing: 8th (West) | 3-3-4 | -1 GD
Essential Reading: Zoomed N on Houston Dynamo with Dynamo Theory

Injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Daniel Steres (left leg)

The offseason for Houston Dynamo FC has been one of change. During the 2021 season, Ted Segal purchased the club and, after a disappointing season, is putting his stamp on the club. Segal brought in longtime MLS veteran Pat Onstad as the general manager, who went straight to work rebuilding this team.

The most significant addition to this team is the Mexican midfielder Hector Herrera, but they have to wait until the summer transfer window for his arrival. However, new DP forward Sebastián Ferreira has hit the ground from the start with four goals and one assist. Any result against Nashville will be built on the foundation of Ferreira’s play.

The Dynamo started the season out strongly but have struggled in recent weeks. Currently in the midst of a three-game losing streak while also winless in their last four. Can they bounce back against Nashville SC?

Pablo Nagamura has settled into his role as a first-time MLS coach quite well and has helped instill an identity on a team that has felt rudderless for quite a while. Nagamura chooses to use a 4-2-3-1 / 4-3-3 formation that prioritizes clogging up the middle and stopping teams from getting into transition. At times, he will choose to give up possession to the opposing team and press to force the opponent to make a mistake. Against Nashville, I would expect to see the Dynamo employ this tactic and force Nashville to break them down.

On the attacking side, Houston rely on their wingers and fullbacks to create width and supply service to the center forward. Against Nashville, Tyler Pasher and Fafa Picault will be the two wingers that be tasked with creating those chances from the wing. Playing inverted, they will look to drift inside as they play balls into both Sebastian Ferreira and Darwin Quintero. If they are able to transition quickly, Houston could find gaps behind Nashville’s wingbacks.

Nashville SC

Current standing: 6th (West) | 4-3-3 | +1 GD

Injuries

QUESTIONABLE: Aníbal Godoy (thigh)
OUT: Teal Bunbury (knee), Robert Castellanos (ankle), Koze Donaziyano (adductor), Randall Leal (ankle), Ahmed Longmire (health & safety protocols)

Three consecutive matches at home have proven to be the shot to the arm that the ‘Yotes needed. With two straight wins and an undefeated homestand, Nashville head back on the road for a quick trip down to Texas.

Wednesday night’s 3-2 victory was the first comeback win of the season and should buoy the confidence of this group heading into a hectic part of the season. Coach Gary Smith is now faced with balancing a squad that will need to be rotated, with seven games in 21 days.

Nashville SC may have gone undefeated at home, but it was not without a few disappointments. Aníbal Godoy picked up a thigh injury before the GEODIS Park opener and against Real Salt Lake, Randall Leal suffered an ankle injury. While Godoy has been upgraded to questionable, Leal looks to be missing for a few weeks.

Along with the injuries, the squad was forced into playing an extra 30 minutes of soccer against Atlanta, and could be coming into the match against Houston with some tired legs. I expect to see Smith give some rest to a few players like Sean Davis and Daniel Lovitz who have put in a lot of miles through the past few weeks.

The biggest question going into the match is who comes in for Randall Leal? This season, Leal has been one of the most consistent performers with his attacking ability and willingness to work back when needed. There is not another player on the roster who is a like-for-like replacement. Expect to see Aké Loba be given the opportunity; can he take it?

Pod picks

Andy Simmons

Score: Houston 1 – 1 Nashville
Scores: C.J. Sapong
MOTM: Joe Willis
Bold Prediction: Willis has over 6 saves

Lucas Panzica

Score: Houston 0 – 0 Nashville
Scorers: 
MOTM: Joe Willis
Bold Prediction: Willis saves a penalty

Jonathan Slape

Score: Houston 1 – 2 Nashville
Scorers: Hany Mukhtar, Ethan Zubak
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Nashville limits Philadelphia to only 2 shots on target.

Davey Shepherd

Score: Houston 0 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Aké Loba
MOTM: Aké Loba
Bold Prediction: Nashville survives a few set-piece scares to grab the 1-0 win

Ben Wright

Score: Houston 0 – 1 Nashville
Scorers: Walker Zimmerman
MOTM: Hany Mukhtar
Bold Prediction: Zimmerman scores from a set-piece in the last 20 minutes

Fan Forecast

Kit matchup

Match Info

Teams: Houston Dynamo FC vs Nashville SC
Odds: Houston (+160), Draw (+200), Nashville (+175) via BetMGM
Date: Saturday, May 14
Time: 7:30 PM Central, PNC Stadium, Houston, Texas
TV: MYTV30, ESPN+ (out of market)
Radio: iHeartRadio Online (English); El Jefe 96.7 (Spanish)
Forecast: 91°/72°. Partly Cloudy 10% chance of rain. 55% humidity

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