The Houston Dynamo travel just 180 miles or so up the road to Austin for tonight's Western Conference matchup. It's a continuation of the expansion of Texas bragging rights. Here is the good the bad and the ugly about tonight's game.
The good begins with the new look Houston Dynamo. Midfielder Hector Herrera made his MLS debut against FC Dallas and everyone from the concession stand worker to the players on the pitch were like a whole different group. Look for that energy, confidence and enthusiasm to carry over to Tuesday night. Talent wise, Houston can go toe to toe with any team in the league. It's just a matter of which team shows up on matchday.
The bad is simple. Austin FC is one of the top two teams in the Western Conference. They play well home and away. In the last meeting with Houston, they came to PNC Stadium and played like they owned the place. Their fanbase was loud and boisterous. Their players were energized. Their team took a 2-1 win. The second place green and black are unbeaten in their last five matches including three road games. ATXFC has three clean sheets over the five game span. They have taken the points in seven home matches out of eight tries. Should we continue?
The ugly is the simplest of the them all. Houston has won just 7 of their last 69 road matches. They have lost six of eight away games this season. Their road goal differential is minus nine. They're due for a win, aren't they? Will Saturday's gritty performance be enough to carry them to a crucial road win? They sit five points off the final playoff line. Can Herrrera bring them a little closer on Tuesday?
Last but not least, both teams are coming off short rest. The tactical formations will not change much if at all. This will be a match dependent on coaching decisions. It will be Josh Wolff v Paulo Nagamura. Simply put, fans should watch and see how the substitutions in the rotation work for each team. Whose supporting cast performs better may well predict the outcome of this match.
Kick-off for the Houston Dynamo and Austin FC game is slated for 8:00pm CT from Q2 Stadium in Austin.