It’s the first road match of the season as Columbus Crew SC search for their first win against Western Conference foes Houston. After last week’s tie, the Black and Gold have a daunting task of facing a rising Dynamo team that was rebuilt over the winter under new head coach Wilmer Cabrera.
For the Dynamo, they got off to winning ways on their opener as they defeated the champion Seattle Sounders. Cubo Torres got off to a great start in 2017 with his first goal in Houston orange in his third year with the team. Honduran Romell Quioto scored on his debut in the win against the Sounders as fellow Honduran Alberth Elis proved to be dangerous in support of his fellow attackers.
The revamped defense, behind offseason additions A.J. DeLaGarza, Adolfo Machado, and Leonardo stymied the high powered Sounder offense, limiting them to a well taken Clint Dempsey goal and four shots on goal total.
Columbus will run out the same lineup that tied the Fire last week as Ola Kamara is back to full fitness and only Dilly Duka and Waylon Francis are on the injury list of the regulars. After a week with four debuts, the team will get another chance to build chemistry under the pressure of a regular season match.
Keys to the Match
Under Pressure: How will Columbus, especially goalkeeper Zack Steffen, play when faced with the press. Teams love to try and disrupt Crew SC’s patient buildup. How will the rookie goalkeeper react when teams force him to play with his feet.
Keep up the pace: The Dynamo showed they can shut down a potent offense and teams love to play deep against the possession oriented Crew SC. For every offensive dud, Berhalter talks about how fast Columbus can pass the ball when faced with a tight defense. Can Abu and Trapp make sure that the ball keeps moving enough to create chances.
Stop the break: Houston attacks at speed, much like Chicago did last week. The home side will have those chances one vs. one against Crew SC defenders. Will Jonathan Mensah, Nicolai Naess, and company be in the right spots to cut out those chances before the Dynamo are bearing down on goal?
How to Watch
Date/Time: Saturday March 11th, 8:30 p,m. ET
Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, TX)
Watch: The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2 (Channel Guide)
Stream: MLS Live
Listen: CD102.5 FM (English) La Mega 103.1 FM (Spanish)