It's back home to CenturyLink Field for the Sounders FC this weekend as it will play host to the Houston Dynamo, which is once again in the Western Conference of Major League Soccer. Here to talk about this week's contest in Off-Camera Observations is Sounders FC broadcast analyst, former player and Senior Director of Business Operations Taylor Graham.
On the potential Houston lineup:
You can see that Houston is playing with a new style now that Owen Coyle is at the helm. They’ve predominantly been playing a 4-5-1, and very defensively. They’ve got two-goals scored and only eight shots on target this year so far. That’ll probably change this summer when they get “Cubo” Torres coming in, but right now you’re seeing some new players.
Brad Davis has played inside a little bit, which is new for him. DaMarcus Beasley is a face that everyone will recognize, but the goalkeeper, Tyler Deric, has actually stolen the headlines with some phenomenal saves alongside one blunder against Orlando City. He’s showed his youth, but he’s also showed his capabilities.
On the Dynamo under Owen Coyle:
I expect them to come out on the counter. They’re a team that’s going to try to get a point, especially away from home. The Sounders can play on the counterattack too. The more that Houston exposes themselves, the more likely that Clint and Oba – or whoever is playing up top – will be able to transition with the pace they have. I expect to see Houston with two lines of four or five defending and trying to counter. And no matter where Brad Davis is playing, his quality on set pieces is going to be something they live and die by.
On what tactics he expects to see:
I’d love to see the team try to regain the confidence that they played with in the home opener against New England. The game against San Jose was disappointing defensively, but that’s where the team really focused its efforts in Dallas: being defensively sound. And you saw that. Even when Sounders went up a man, they were pretty hesitant to push numbers forward with Dallas’ speed and counterattacking ability. You have a few guys coming back from injury. You have Marco coming back from international duty. It’s still early in the season, but you just look to see more combination play and the team starting to gel a bit more together.