Preview: Houston Dynamo v New England Revolution
By Louis Roesch
The Houston Dynamo come off of a gritty performance in interim head coach Kevin Bundy's MLS debut. In a quick turn around, they prepare to face the New England Revolution who is in a battle for playoff points. Playing against the Revolution for the first time since 2018, here are three things that will happen in this match.
First, Houston fans can expect the same type of performance on Tuesday night that they saw on Saturday night against Sporting Kansas City. Houston fans saw a team that went down a man in the first half and yet continue to hold it down. They defended when they needed to and countered when the moment allowed. They showed up and showed out for a full 90 just as you expect from a Bundy led team.
"In five games, I can build what I think will help these players the most. If these were the first five games of the season, we wouldn't be saying is it too early. Yes, we can build on this. Those are the things that I think are really special. I spoke to the boys this morning in our pre-training meeting that we can't look at the past, other than to reflect and improve. Those are the games that if you're fighting for a playoff spot, or you're in the playoffs, those are the games you want to have," began Bundy. "Where yes, we're disappointed in a point because we think we could have gotten three, but you went down a man in the first half. You knew at halftime we were going to have to make some adjustments, but those aren't the best games to play in as a player. You realize okay, we're probably not going to have the ball very much. The last clip that I showed to the boys was there's a sequence where a ball is whipped in Teenage (Hadebe) dives. He clears the ball out they recirculate it. They play another ball and Teenage wins the ball again, the ball gets played back in and we make two or three blocks before we clear our lines. That's why we got that point. Those types of plays, where everybody behind the ball is doing everything for the team to make sure that we don't concede. That is what made me the happiest at the end of that half, at the end of the game was that those moments happened."
Second fans can expect to see more of Thor Uhlfarrson. Saturday night may have been one of his better games off the bench even though he didn't find the back of the net. As many fans know, what a forward does off the ball is just as important as what he does when he has the ball at his feet. Bundy is known for putting players in the right spot to be most successful. Uhlfarrson could thrive under a Bundy led team.
Third, fans should expect to see an animated sideline as they did on Saturday night. This does just mean the head coach is on his feet fighting for his team. When was the last time you saw the Dynamo bench get a yellow? Not for a very long time. Houston fans should feel energized by this emotion, emotion that serves a purpose.
Finally, New England is desperate for points as they sit three points below the cut line so a win would be huge for their play off chances. Houston is trying to prove that they can play consistently well game in and game out. Look for another strong 90 from this team.
“They need to win. They're going to look at this game as the most important of the week right now," said Bundy. "We don't necessarily feel like there'll be too many changes in players. They're in a situation where they're going to need to come after us. Which is great. That's what we want. We want teams to come in and give it their best. The way Bruce (Arena) plays and the way he sets up, his team is very structured and they have some great players. Ultimately, our job at home is to dictate play and really make sure that we're stingy in the back.”
Kick-off for Tuesday's night match is set for 7:30pm CT.