D.C. United 

United ready to move on, Houston in town

The Houston Dynamo were once known for their prowess on stopping teams and keeping them off the board, that wasn’t the case last season. The Dynamo surrendered a franchise high 58 goals, they struggled mightily to find consistency on that end of the field as they also had 10 shutouts last season as well. Their new coach may have gotten them back to their once proud ways as Houston has given up just three goals through six games. They are also coming off a game in which their attack was operating at a good level, netting three goals in the win over the Montreal Impact last week. The aim to come into DC and take down the Black-and-Red as the road team. This is the one and only meeting between these two teams this season barring a postseason matchup, so it should definitely add to the intensity.

The home team is coming off a bit of a disappointing match last week, a 2-2 draw with their bitter rivals, the Red Bulls. DC was in a great position after 68 minutes or so, a 2-0 lead should have held up. That wasn’t the case as the Red Bulls finished the game with a flurry, netting an immediate response to United’s second goal and scoring in the 89th minute to tie the game up.

That result withstanding, the Black-and-Red haven’t loss in their last three games. With their best performance of the season being in their last game, the draw against New York. United continues to get healthier, which only gives a very deep team more options. Luis Silva has come off of the bench at about the 75th minute int he last two matches. His presence is welcome on the field as another playmaker that teams must account for, his prowess in set pieces don’t hurt either.

Perry Kitchen is coming off a pretty good week, netted both of the goals last week against the Red Bulls and then got called up to join the United States National team in their match earlier this week against Mexico. Kitchen was a reserve, but he did play as he came on in the 60th minute and did a solid job, even getting off a couple of shots.

While the back line has done an admirable job in Birnbaum’s absence, they will be tested yet again by another dangerous goal scorer early on ┬áthis season. Giles Barnes is that dangerous threat atop the Dynamo’s formation, he put 11 balls in the back of the net last season and nine the season before. United should draw from their experience against Bradley Wright-Phillips in terms of knowing where this guy is at all times.

Just last week, Houston decided to trade youth for experience and skill. They acquired Alex from the Chicago Fire in exchange for third year forward Jason Johnson. Alex has the ability to play in several places across the Dynamo formation, he’s only played in one game this season but could see time with Houston as soon as this week.

The Dynamo play a 4-2-3-1, which will definitely be an intriguing matchup against DC’s more traditional 4-4-2. Here’s what DC must do to continue their three week stretch of getting a result:

Keys to the Game

  • Keep a body on Giles Barnes, take away the “1” at the top of their formation
  • Attack. Continue to be aggressive in the middle of the field and the final third
  • Close down on playmakers, similar to last week against New York
  • Communication. Must communicate when defending set pieces
  • Keep shape, can’t afford to get caught out of position against a formation like this
  • Finish. Play all 90 minutes, keep in mind the lesson learned last week

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