Houston Dynamo vs. Orlando City FC (OCFC)
BBVA Compass Stadium-Houston-7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 6, 2017
After a shutout loss last Friday night in Toronto, the Dynamo return home to play surprising Eastern Conference leading Orlando FC.
- This is only the third meeting between the two sides. The Dynamo have never beaten OCFC….losing in Orlando last year and tying in Houston early in the 2015 season.
- The Dynamo now sit in fourth place in the Western Conference with 13 points. The club plays the next two at home and then 5 of 6 on the road, where they have lost all three games so far this season.
- The Dynamo is relatively healthy. Agus, as he has been all season, is likely out. Ricardo Clark showed up on the injury list for the first time with an adductor injury, but head coach Wilmer Cabrera stated that he will be available this week.
- Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis was nominated for MLS Save of the Week.
- Orlando City lost Wednesday night in Toronto 2-1. Like the Dynamo last weekend, Orlando fell behind 2-0 midway through the first half. Unlike the Dynamo, they made a game of it. Brazilian legend Kaka scored right before the end of the half and Cyle Larin was unlucky not to score a game tying goal in the second half when the Toronto goalkeeper reached back and brushed a ball to safety off the goal line.
- The Toronto game marked the return of Kaka to the starting lineup, though he is not back to full fitness. OCFC head coach Jason Kreis had this to say about Kaka’s efforts on mlssoccer.com immediately after the match.“He’s finding his way,” said Orlando City head coach Jason Kreis, “Lots of positive touches, lots of creative decisions on the ball to create goal-scoring chances. Even in the first half, when our energy wasn’t quite right, we were still getting into positive spots. He was involved in most of that. In the first 15 minutes of the second half things were really going our way. I would have loved to play him longer, but when returning from injury, you can’t afford to do that.”
- Orlando City goalkeeper Joe Bendik was voted Alcatel MLS Player of the Month for April. He led all MLS goalkeepers with four April victories, while his three shutouts this year – two of which came in April – rank second in the league.
- Benjamin Baer from mlssoccer.com, using OPTA expected goals statistics wonders if the Dynamo scoring rush this season may be due for a reversal. Given the Dynamo’s defensive challenges this season so far, this does not bode well if true. Here is a link to the article.
Real Salt Lake (RSL) vs. FC Dallas (FCD)
Rio Tinto Stadium-Sandy, UT-8:30 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 29, 2017
Undefeated FC Dallas (4-0-3) return to the road after two consecutive home games to play Real Salt Lake.
- FCD sits in third place in the Western Conference, 3 points behind Sporting KC, but with two games in hand. RSL, already having fired their head coach, is 2-5-2 (negative 6 goal differential) and currently in eighth place.
- Though FCD has a substantial lead in the all-time results against RSL, they are only 5-10-4 when playing in Sandy.
- FCD forward Maxi Urruti was nominated for MLS Goal of the Week for the goal he scored against Portland last week.
- RSL is off to a slow start, partly because the club has been injury ravaged on the defensive side of the ball. Four key defenders, their goalkeeper and Kyle Beckerman, the starting holding midfielder, are listed on the injury report this week. To further complicate matters, defender Chris Schuler received a one-game suspension from the disciplinary committee this week. RSL will be looking to rebuild momentum that had started to build after new head coach Mike Petke took over last month. The club was comprehensively outmatched in Kansas City last week, losing 3-0.
- This game represents an emotional return to Salt Lake for FCD midfielder Javier Morales. Morales, who played 10 seasons in SLC and was a key piece in an MLS Cup Champion side, is a beloved Real legend. Christopher Kamrani of the Salt Lake Tribune profiled his return in an article published yesterday.