Nashville SC are back on the road this weekend, heading to Texas to take on the Houston Dynamo. For the latest on the Orange Crush, we spoke with Dustyn Richardson of Dynamo Theory.
Broadway Sports Media: The Dynamo have had plenty of turnover in the front office, coaching staff and ownership groups in the past several seasons. How has the current structure worked out for Houston, and does it feel like they’re on the right track to really make an impact in a market with so much potential?
Dusytn Richardson: For the first time in a long time it feels like the club is on the right track. New owner Ted Segal came in vowing to spend the money to make the Dynamo competitive again and so far he is literally putting his money where his mouth is. On the field the club has splashed cash on DP striker Sebastian Ferreira and Mexican international Hector Herrera. They also made midfielder Adalberto Carrasquilla’s loan deal permanent for a reported $2 million.
Off the field Segal is putting together a competent front office with the hiring of Pat Onstad as general manager, Asher Mendelsohn as technical director, and Paulo Nagamura as head coach. The Houston market has to be re-awakened and winning will do that. It finally feels like that process is in place.
BSM: Houston started out the season strong but have regressed a bit, losing their last three matches. What’s gone wrong for them? Are there common threads throughout the losses?
DR: The team has just been very disjointed in the three losses. Darwin Quintero hasn’t played particularly well and when the driving force behind the offense is off, it causes the attack to sputter. Sebastian Ferreira needs service and he just isn’t getting it from the wingers. Outside of Quintero they don’t have a lot of players who can create.
Nagamura changed the lineup a little last week in D.C. so we’ll see if he continues to make adjustments. Dynamo 2 are currently in first place in MLS NEXT Pro and have a number of solid prospects who look close to ready. It will be interesting to see if and when they decide to move those guys up to give the team a little bit of new life.
BSM: Houston have conceded 13 goals in 10 games. It’s not an awful number, but not great either. How are they overall defensively, and how do you think they match up with Nashville’s preferred road approach to hit on the counter?
DR: The Dynamo brought in Steve Clark to help strengthen the defense this season and he has just been ok. He hasn’t been the Steve Clark of Portland but he also hasn’t been helped out by his back line either. Houston has a lot of money tied up at center back with DP Teenage Hadebe and Tim Parker. Hadebe has actually played quite well this season while Parker has been disappointing, at least in my opinion.
Adam Lundkvist is a good left back who can play well on both ends of the field but right back still remains a big question mark. Zarek Valentin started the year there but Griffin Dorsey has gotten most of the minutes while new signing Zeca got a start last weekend. Dorsey and Zeca are both more wingers than backs so the defense is always going to have to compensate for that area.
If Nashville can break down their left side and catch the Dynamo out, they could definitely find success.
BSM: Do you have a lineup/score prediction for this weekend?
I think the eleven you’ll see from Houston will be a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 of Clark; Lundkvist, Hadebe, Parker, Zeca; Vera, Carrasquilla; Pasher, Quintero, Picault; Ferreira. I’d like to think the Dynamo could get points at home but I just think Nashville is that much better than them. I’ll say 2-1 to the visitors and hope I’m wrong.
Thanks to Dustyn for his time. Make sure to check out all his coverage of Houston Dynamo @dynamotheory on Twitter.