On Saturday, two teams on opposite ends of the table in the Western Conference will face off at BBVA Compass Stadium. The Houston Dynamo sit second from bottom in the conference looking far from the team that used to challenge for titles season after season. The LA Galaxy, on the other hand, are one of the hottest teams in the league and their new star looks set for another amazing performance.
Things haven’t been going too well for the hosts. In their last five games, Houston have won just one game and gathered only four points out of 15. This drop in form has seen the Dynamo fall even with bottom of the conference Colorado Rapids with 24 points and the Texan team narrowly avoids the basement through goal differential. A victory on Saturday could provide a glimmer of hope to this bleak season in Houston, however, as the three points have the potential to push them to seventh in the conference and just three spots away from the playoffs. In their two previous meetings with the Galaxy, Houston have yet to register a win, but their first matchup ended in a narrow 1-1 draw. Will the weekend end with a long awaited Dynamo victory?
One bright spot on this disappointing Dynamo season has been forward Will Bruin. Just over halfway through the season, Bruin has already scored eight goals and his on pace to equal his career best 16. In the Dynamo’s last three games, the St. Louis native has scored twice and a weak Los Angeles defense could see him edge closer to a career season. Bruin’s form on Saturday could either push the Dynamo up the table or see them fall further down in the conference.
The man of the hour in the MLS has to be Steven Gerrard. After being named to the MLS All Star game, despite not playing a single game in the league, Stevie G quickly made a name for himself stateside. In his debut, the Liverpool legend won a penalty, scored and registered an assist during a thundering 5-2 victory over San Jose. It looks like he has quickly settled into life alongside Robbie Keane, and the Dynamo provide the perfect opportunity for him to continue his storm into the MLS. It’s too early to tell whether or not fitness will be an issue for the aging midfielder, but if he plays like he did against San Jose this game could be over quick.
A big concern for the surging Galaxy has to be the players missing on international duty. The likes of Gyasi Zardes, Omar Gonzales and Jaime Penedo will all be playing in Saturday’s third place game in the Gold Cup, and their absence could set the stage for a Dynamo upset. All three players are key contributors on attack, defense and in net. Since their departure in late August, the Galaxy have won two of their three league games, including a 4-0 demolition of Toronto FC. Based on this previous form, it looks like LA have adjusted to their shorthanded roster and will be in great form Saturday night.
As much as I want to root for the St. Louis connection in Houston, the Galaxy just have too much talent for the Dynamo to deal with. I think that Steven Gerrard will have another great game for his new club, and LA leave with all three points. Final score will be Houston 0-2 Los Angeles.