The New York Red Bulls come off the international break with a road trip to a well-rested and red-hot Houston Dynamo. I caught up with Derek Stowers of Dynamo Theory to discuss Saturday’s matchup:
Once a Metro: The Dynamo won seven games all last season. They have two already and look really good. What happened this off-season to contribute to their hot start?
Dynamo Theory: It all starts at the top and the Dynamo got themselves a new coach in Wilmer Cabrera. Cabrera is committed to a fast counter-attacking team and he used the off-season to go out and revamp his side. Our three top attacking players of Romell Quioto, Cubo Torres, and Alberth Elis all have developed a lot of chemistry and have bought in. Cubo looks better than his final year with Chivas USA due to the faith that Cabrera has in him, but also the system that complements Cubo’s style of play.
The defense has also been completely re-tooled with only DaMarcus Beasley remaining as a starter this season. The Dynamo went out and got A. J. DeLaGarza and Leonardo from the LA Galaxy and Adolfo Machado who has extensive experience with the Panamanian National Team. While the defense is still a work in progress, exemplified by the 2nd half of our game at Portland, it has shown remarkably well in 2 and ½ games and can now use that last half at Portland as a way to grow.
The way that this team is built at the moment, it can overwhelm opponents with how quickly they can transition the ball (within seconds they can take a defensive stop and turn it into a goal). Early on, teams haven’t quite cracked how to defend that yet.
OaM: Is Romell Quioto the real deal?
DT: Yes, he absolutely is. I called it before the start of the season that he would be our team’s leading scorer and he’s currently tied with Cubo for that honor as the pair have scored 3 goals in 3 games each. Quioto is a superb finisher, as evidenced by his Goal of the Week winner in week 1 which was a curled shot to the top corner taken with his right foot, but he hit a similar shot in preseason with his left foot from just inside the 18 yard box. He’s got speed to burn defenders and strength to hold them off the ball, but perhaps what makes him a true threat is his vision. He’s able to anticipate where passes end up and get on the end of them. Luckily for RBNY fans, Quioto is unlikely to dress as he suffered an injury with the Honduran National Team.
OaM: Who are some other players RBNY will have to watch for?
DT: Alberth Elis is someone opposing defenders should target. Elis has blistering pace and can take on several defenders and keep the ball. With Quioto unlikely to feature, Elis should see more attention from his teammates and they’ll look for him to capitalize on the counter attack. Apart from him, Quioto’s likely replacement Mauro Manotas, is one to keep an eye on. He was one of the few bright spots from last season and is hungry to earn more minutes by producing for Cabrera.
Expected Injuries/Omissions: OUT: DF George Malki, DF Agus. QUESTIONABLE: GK Joe Willis, FW Romell Quioto
Predicted Starting XI: 4-3-3: Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley, Leonardo, Adolfo Machado, A. J. DeLaGarza; Alex Lima, Juan David Cabezas, Ricardo Clark; Mauro Manotas, Cubo Torres, Alberth Elis
Predicted score line: 2-2. The Dynamo strike early, but they tend to sit back on a lead and it comes back to bite them late.
You can catch Once a Metro’s answers to Dynamo Theory’s questions here.