Ahead of tonight's Open Cup match at Houston, we spoke with Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis to get his thoughts on the match. Tonight's match kicks off at 6 p.m. CT with a live stream on SportingKC.com
The Dynamo are coming off a 3-2 loss on Sunday at Portland. What are your thoughts on their performance and overall form heading into tonight's match?
There's been a coaching change and that always changes a lot of dynamics and player approaches and players having to regroup themselves. The new manager Wade Barrett has some different thoughts than the former manager Owen Coyle.
They had a very positive start in Portland and staked themselves out to a 2-0 lead at halftime. They are a team that has struggled to maintain, protect, and nurture leads. At the end of the day in the second half, they didn't have the ability to protect it or the killer instinct to put the game away. I thought they had chances to put the game away. There were some positives. They didn't lose the game 3-2 sitting back and absorbing everything. I thought the penalty to make it 3-2 was a bad call but in saying that, even getting out of there at 2-2 is a major disappointment.
What changes have you seen in the Dynamo under new head coach Wade Barrett?
Barrett said they're going to be a little bit tighter with their lines and be a little more compact as far as the shape of the team. He's a defender and been under Owen Coyle and Dominic Kinnear as an assistant. Whether or not they're going to go with the original plan of Cristian Maidana, who was acquired from Philly as a playmaker, that had kind of been dispelled. I don't think that's the direction they're going in. In some ways, it's started with being a little more organized which really puts the team back to square one before you had Owen Coyle. The Dynamo at that point were trying to platform into being a more dangerous attacking team.
I think Wade Barrett is a very articulate, intelligent guy and is going to have to make some really tough decisions personnel wise. They're going to have to make decisions that are not going to come from his heart but are going to come from what's going to get him results. Some of those decisions might have to be very, very tough. I would assume there would be some player movement or at least the Dynamo looking at making some player movement during the transfer window. That's what happens when a new coach takes over. Some players are more valued to that coach than the others as far as being able to get the job done. I would imagine there's some change coming up.
Houston defeated San Antonio FC 4-0 in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup. What were your thoughts on that match and any players that stood out?
Mauro Manotas, a young Colombian striker, is really pushing the envelope to get more playing time. He's only 20 years of age and is a player for the future. He's a bit of a challenge because in order to accelerate his development he needs playing time. He's been getting it late in games but he really hasn't had minutes in MLS play as an out and out starter. Does that point ever come for him because I think the Dynamo made a nice investment in him but he's one you want to see get real minutes. The qualities he brings are different than some others, including his movement off the ball. Every game he's been in put in, he's created a dangerous chance. He's doing everything he can to get an opportunity to start. He's one that in the Open Cup has produced, scoring the first goal against San Antonio. Everybody would say that's a game the Dynamo need to win and they went out and won it convincingly. It's what an MLS team should do in that situation. I think the takeaway was that the team took the game very seriously and that comes from the manager Wade Barrett.
What players will be key for the Dynamo in Wednesday's match?
Andrew Wenger came off a very good game (on Sunday) and scored a fantastic goal in Portland. Running at people and beating people which I think has been a problem for the Dynamo. I did notice (on Sunday) a few more Dynamo players trying to beat people and drive and get into the penalty area. We saw it from Alex Lima as well, who I think arguably could be the Dynamo MVP this year. Those two guys had very good games. Will Bruin got his 50th and needed a goal at that point. It's more of a team that's got to figure out ways how to win games and close games out. They've had leads in nine games and six of those times either lost or drawn. It's that mental strength to play for 90 minutes and make plays at the right times and eliminate mistakes. All these things have come into play in a lot of the Dynamo games and that's now for a couple of years really.