Preview: Houston Dynamo 2 v Tacoma Defiance
It's been a tough go of late for the Houston Dynamo 2 team having dropped three straight matches. On Sunday night, they return to the friendly confines of AVEVA Stadium, looking to get back on track. The team had been rolling with 7 consecutive wins before dropping a couple of matches to end the first part of the MLS NextPro season and then dropping the road restart last week. What can we expect this week?
Let's begin with the good news. Houston is at home where they are undefeated (3-0-0). It's also a place where the have a plus 4 goal differential and three clean sheets. Also on the good news side of the ledger is midfielders Brooklyn Raines and Marcelo Palomno playing their second straight match together. The final bit of good news is that with a win, Dynamo Dos could be back in a playoff berth pending the outcome of other games so three points is off the utmost necessity.
Now from Tacoma's standpoint, they are on a roll. Currently sitting in second place in the table six points clear of Houston, they routed Colorado last week 4-1. Tacoma saw three different players score including a brace by Marlon Vargas. Vargas has scored in six straight games and will be one to keep an eye on. The Defiance now have an unbeaten streak sitting at nine games and counting.
Tacoma not only leads the Western Conference and is second to only the Columbus Crew 2 side in the MLS NextPro overall standings. They have also moved to number two in the power rankings. With 35 goals on the season and seven from both Vargas and Alfonso O'Campo Chavez, they have bult a league best goal differential of plus 20.
The last meeting between these two sides was a 4-1 win by Tacoma. The game was 1-0 at the intermission but then two goals in the first 25 minutes including one by O'Campo Chavez sealed the deal. Since then, no one has netted more than two against the Dynamo 2 defense. Tacoma on the other hand has gone on to score three or more goals in a match three times in its last seven outings.
Overall, one would think that Tacoma has just too much firepower but Houston 2 is one of the stingiest defenses with a goals against of 1.08. Something will have to give since the Defiance averages 2.7 goals per match and have a plus 9 goal differential in its last four matches. Houston on the other side has given up five in its last four games.
Having said all that, look for Kyle Edwards to be a difference maker. He did not play in the first meeting between these two teams. Edwards and Papa N'Doye who scored in his last outing are beginning to show flashes of a potent 1-2 offensive punch.