Houston Dynamo host an early surge from Los Angeles FC at home. With LAFC already pushing for playoffs, Houston must reinforce the home parapets.
The Dynamo went 12-1-4 in Houston last year. So far this season the Dynamo have gone 5-2-0 at home. That doesn’t signal a crack in the fortress wall necessarily, but they have shown signs of vulnerability this season.
And with this vulnerability, Houston Dynamo face a growing juggernaut in Los Angeles FC. LAFC took off quickly in their inaugural season. They’re unbeaten at home. Overall, they’re among nine MLS teams averaging two points or more per game overall.
Returning from World Cup play, defender Laurent Ciman opened up the cannons. He’s scored three goals this season, most from free kicks. That helps make Los Angeles FC a team that can play from the back, as head coach Bob Bradley puts it.
That also makes Ciman the player to watch as they roll their forces into Houston.
Projected lineups (4-3-3):
LAFC will show Houston their same 4-3-3 from the offensive angle.
Houston will counter with a defensive scheme for the 4-3-3.
Los Angeles uses the offensive scheme for the formation to form a tight midfield triangle. Then they get Ciman into the attacking mix.
Houston will defend mainly with their center backs and perhaps a defensive midfielder. Then, as the home team attacks, they’ll count on LAFC misplacing some passes. That will allow Houston to move in with attacker Mauro Manotas up front to find goalkeeper Tyler Miller going the wrong way for a couple of scores.
Two scores from Houston would do it. But LAFC will have something to say about that occurring. And they won’t likely offer up many mistaken passes for the Dynamo to gobble up.
That makes a draw the most likely result, not that the Dynamo want a draw. Houston won’t easily settle for a draw in this game. As long as LAFC keep showing up as a juggernaut, it would appear the best result, but the home side will want to win to reestablish its home dominance.
However, Los Angeles FC might actually win the 100-yard dash early this season. Houston Dynamo, under head coach Wilmer Cabrera, looks at this stretch as the start of a marathon.
The best-run 4-3-3 formations in international soccer history have worked to wear opponents down over time. If the Dynamo work it right, this game will yield them a point at worst, with three points there for them with the right bounce of the ball.