Both the Columbus Crew and the Houston Dynamo come into their midweek encounter after going on the road this weekend. The Black and Gold took on the defending MLS Cup champions, falling 2-0 conceding early and late. The men in orange registered their first win since mid-March with a 4-1 victory over Chivas USA.
Questions for Dynamo Theory
Massive Report: Brad Davis has been an important fixture for the Dynamo for years. At age 32, how has his game changed from his younger days?
Dynamo Theory: Well, for one, he's not going to blow by defenders. He also tends to get injured easier, so Dominic Kinnear tends to take it easy on him when possible. Beyond those two things, though, his service either from the run of play or on set pieces is still deadly as ever (hey, just like your DP Higuain!). There's definitely a noticeable difference in his movement, but he still plays as hard as ever. There's really no quit in him.
MR: Both Will Bruin and Giles Barnes scored last week against Chivas USA. How important is it to Houston's season that these two are finding the net with some consistency?
DT: In matches where Will or Giles score, the Dynamo are 3-0-1. In matches where neither scores, the Dynamo are 0-4-1. Let that sink in for a moment, because it is astonishing. If those two aren't scoring, the Dynamo aren't winning, and it really has been as simple as that. So in short, those two finding the net with some consistency is probably the most important piece of the puzzle for this season.
MR: Who would be the player, or players, that Crew fans may not have heard of but may want to be aware of heading into this meeting?
DT: With the Dynamo returning all of their starters from last season save two, Bobby Boswell and Calen Carr, there really aren't many players Crew fans wouldn't have prior knowledge of. One of those is David
Horst who was picked up in a trade with the Portland Timbers, and if Crew fans should take notice of a player it is him.
David Horst has been a godsend along the backline for the Dynamo who lost center back stalwart Bobby Boswell to the MLS Re-Entry Draft to DC United in the offseason. Horst is a workhorse along the back, solid at 1v1 and headers both offensive and defensive. He is an absolute monster physically, and plays like a younger Eddie Robinson, which is scary. He is the new vocal leader at the back and he has helped [Tally Hall] command the midfield and defenders in front of him.
Questions for Massive Report
Dynamo Theory: [Federico Higuain] is an obvious catalyst to the Columbus Crew offense. He is a threat on set pieces and in the run of play. What other attacking players should Houston Dynamo fans be aware of prior to Wednesday's match?
Massive Report: If you're looking beyond Higuain for some offense I think you can start with the two outside midfielders for the Crew: Bernardo Anor and Hector Jimenez. With the style Columbus plays, the "wingers" tend to pinch in quite a bit and Anor especially will often act as that second forward. Both players have already scored this season - Anor had two goals against the Philadelphia Union - and have been involved in other goals. I would also say Waylon Francis is someone to keep an eye on. The Crew's left back will be consistently forward on the wings and has played some dangerous balls from his wide position.
DT: It's no secret the home of the Houston Dynamo, BBVA Compass Stadium, is nearly unpenetrable for opposing teams. What tactics do Columbus need to employ from an attacking standpoint to break through on the score sheet?
MR: Something that new head coach Gregg Berhalter has brought to Columbus is the mentality that they will not change their style for an opponent. The way this team wants to play is to possess the ball, get the outside backs forward, and pull the opposition apart, I don't believe they want to change anything for this game.
With that said, Wil Trapp received a red card in the Crew's game this weekend and he has been an anchor for the system. With him out for the first time this year, it will be interesting to see how Berhalter approaches the game. I believe they will continue to do the same things and ask another player to play Trapp's role, although Berhalter said after the Sporting Kansas City game that there was not a like-for-like player for Trapp.
DT: Wil Trapp is an absolute monster of a player, and has been terrorizing opposition left and right. What is it about Trapp that makes him so lethal?
MR: Trapp's best asset is sitting on top of his shoulders. He's a very smart player and understands how to play. At Akron, he played a similar style under Caleb Porter and I think that was part of the appeal of this system for Berhalter. Unfortunately you won't get to see Trapp in person this weekend, but it's fun to watch him move around the field. At points he will be playing central midfield, but as the opposition comes forward, he drops into the center back roles and Michael Parkhurst and Giancarlo Gonzalez slide wide until the outside backs can retreat.
Trapp has also been involved more offensively this season, beginning to play key balls as opposed to keeping things simple. He was named vice captain of this team at 21-years old, which shows you what those involved with this team think of him.