Here are some thoughts on the match from the lads over at Dynamo Theory.
As anyone involved in the construction business will tell you, foundation-building can be a frustrating thing. It's unglamorous, sometimes only distantly resembling the glittering structure you're ultimately trying to construct, and even if you follow all the plans, you frequently don't know exactly how good you did until it's far too late.
Which brings us to the Houston Dynamo as they slide on into the second half of the 2012 MLS regular season. Putting aside the memories of a frustrating, not entirely bad but ultimately missed opportunity to rescue all three points against the Chicago Fire on Tuesday night, the Dynamo are headed to Sporting Kansas City Saturday to once again try to make up ground on a team that sits above them in the Eastern Conference standings.
There is a bigger picture of abject mediocrity out of which we are trying to climb. Since beating the LA Galaxy on Memorial Day, the Orange have claimed just eight of the 18 points available and sit just barely on the inside of the playoff-qualification loop. The Sporks, like us, are also hardly setting the world on fire. Over that same span, they have claimed just seven out of 15 points, with includes the three they took at Montreal this past Wednesday. However, due to their red hot start, SKC still own 32 points overall, just one behind DC United in second place, and eight ahead of our 24.
So the stakes, as they say, have been smoking their funny cigarettes. The Dynamo are pretty much the picture of "middle of the road," with a 6-5-6 mark, scoring 22 goals while allowing 24. This is a little better than at the same point in 2011. Then, through 17 games, Dynamo were 4-6-7 (19 points) and had scored 21 goals while allowing 22. Our Orange then went 8-3-6 (24 GF, 19 GA) in the second half to finish 2011 with a 12-9-13 mark (45 GF, 41 GA) and 49 points to finish in second place in the East.
Do this again, though, and we stay in fifth. Sporting Kansas City is currently on pace for 64 points, New York and D.C United on pace for 62 points and Chicago on pace for 56 points. The Sporks, as we all remember, finished the conference race in the lead with 51 points in 2011. The saving grace and cause for hope comes in the home fixtures we still have remaining. Nine of the Orange's first 17 games were at home in 2011, while seven of the first 17 games have been at home in 2012.
The game is the first regular season visit to the City of Fountains since a 3-0 pasting last Sept. 10 that served in many ways as a sort of "Come to Jesus" moment for the Dynamo, who would not lose again until the MLS Cup final.
For those of you formation-minded, Dynamo might just once again line up in the 4-3-3 they've favored since Garcia's spaceship touched down. And in the media press notes, that is indeed projected thusly:
(GK) Tally Hall
(RB) Andre Hainault (CB) Bobby Boswell (CB) Jermaine Taylor (LB)Corey Ashe
(CAM) Luiz Camargo (CDM) Adam Moffat (LM) Brad Davis
(RW) Boniek Garcia (CF) Will Bruin (CF) Macoumba Kandji
Saturday's game is a rematch of the 2011 Eastern Conference final, a 2-0 Dynamo win in Kansas City.
Houston is 6-5-6 (24 points) after 17 games. Sporting KC is 10-5-2 (32 points) through 17 games.
Houston leads the all-time regular season series with Sporting Kansas City 5-3-4.
Injury Report as of Tuesday, July 3:
DOUBTFUL: DF Alex Dixon (concussion); MF Calen Carr (L hamstring strain); MF Je-Vaughn Watson (L adductor strain);
QUESTIONABLE: DF Geoff Cameron (L hamstring strain)
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
OUT: DF Cyprian Hedrick (L fibula fracture); GK Jon Kempin (R ankle fracture); DF Lawrence Olum (L groin strain);
DOUBTFUL: MF Michael Thomas (R ankle sprain);
PROBABLE: FW Bobby Convey (L calf strain)
The match will begin at 7 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Houston and MultiMedios 43 (Spanish) and can be heard on radio on SportsTalk 790 AM (English) and La Ranchera 850 AM (Spanish).