The Houston Dynamo face off against the Colorado Rapids on the road in Colorado on Saturday night. They are two teams headed in opposite directions. What can we expect from this match?
First, Houston should be well rested and come in on the front foot full throttle against a team playing on a 72 hour turn around. There should be no real excuse not to see all the regulars playing from here on out. It's the final shot for Houston and a playoff berth and they will need to get it done on the road. Now the points left on the table stand at 24 and Houston needs everyone of them. Head coach Pauolo Nagamura expects them to be ready and come out strong.
"The mentality of the group and the commitment from everyone to turn this around has been very good," began Nagamura's Thursday afternoon press conference. "Pleased with the work that we put in this week. Of course, we're playing Colorado who played last night. We know it's always a difficult place to play. So, we'll prepare, we will be preparing and hopefully, that will translate into a good performance on Saturday night in Denver."
Second, the defense will need to be on their "A" game. Fortunately, Teenage Hadebe and Tim Parker will be back and available for selection. Colorado comes into the match having scored a goal or more in nine straight contests. Having scored 18 goals over that span, Colorado sits just two point off the playoff line. The Rapids are unbeaten in 6 of 9 matches since July 4th. Houston needs to show up for the full 90 plus.
Third, Colorado gives up a lot of goals and its why they are fighting for their playoff lives too. Over the last nine games, the Rapids have surrendered 23 goals including 14 in the first half. Houston needs to ramp up the pressure early on Colorado because five of the 14 goals have come in the first 15 minutes of play. Half have come before the first 30 minutes are in the books.
Finally, Houston will need to play out of their norm. They only scored 13 goals on the road this season and just four in the first half. The Dynamo have scored one goal or less in nine of their 12 road games this season. On Saturday night, they need to make every shot count and if they can find two goals early, they may be able to pull off their fourth road win of the year.