Following a strong start to the 2019 season, Columbus Crew SC and head coach Caleb Porter find themselves getting their first taste of adversity as a group. Winless in its last three contests, the Black & Gold have been outscored by a combined total of 5-1.
Despite the grim results, Porter remains confident that the Crew can turn things around in the coming weeks.
“There was a lot of stuff I am pleased with, but I’ll say it again like I said last week and the week prior, (you) can’t win unless you’re scoring goals and we’re there, we’re there to score the goals,” the coach said. “We’re there to cross the ball and so we’ll keep going, keep working every single day like we have been, and I think there is lot of ingredients that weren’t there in the early in the year.”
Porter and his staff hope for a better result against a hungry Houston Dynamo team on Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Don’t let their fifth place in the standings fool you, the Dynamo are a quality team. Diehard fans of the game know names like Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis but it’s actually the defense that is winning the games for head coach Wilmer Cabrera and his squad.
Cabrera and his staff boast one of the toughest defenses in the Western Conference. Houston is tied for second in Major League Soccer in goals conceded, allowing just eight through six games. The backline make things difficult for opponents to score anytime they step on the field.
Can Porter and the Crew solve this difficult defense? Let’s take a look at how the Dynamo stack up.
Dynamo at a glance
Leading Scorer: Two players tied at 4 goals
Assists Leader: Mauro Manotas (4)
Houston forward Alberth Elis is a beautiful blend of speed and power. The Honduran serves as a catalyst on offense for head coach Wilmer Cabrera and can cause havoc if left unmarked.
He’s tied for the team lead with four goals and plays the role of facilitator as well. Opposing teams tend to key on Elis, but forget about his fellow teammates Mauro Manotas and Tomas Martinez. This allows the forward to slip a pass to his teammates in dangerous areas, generating quality scoring opportunities.
How they play
The Dynamo prefer to play a 4-2-3-1 attacking formation. Attacking players make sensational off-the-ball runs and exploit zones that the opposing defenses aren’t covering. This allows the aforementioned Elisa and Manotas to work and thrive in those spaces. Keeping their chances to a minimum will be critical to the success for the Black & Gold.
How the Crew win
It seems like the same song and dance every week but Columbus must find a way to pull apart the compact Dynamo defense. This involves dynamic runs, stellar play from the wings and an ability to finish chances.
On the defensive side, the Crew cannot get caught ball watching and must remain on their defensive marks in and around the 18-yard box. Any mental breaks in that area of the field and the Black & Gold could lose control of the game quickly. Should Columbus limit the chances of the Houston forwards and remain tough defensively, it could be a pleasant night deep in the heart of Texas.