The Dynamo return to Houston after earning three points on the road with a 3-1 victory in Florida over Inter Miami CF. With the victory, the Dynamo have won two out of their last three games and have split their first two road games of the season. The Dynamo are unbeaten at home after earning four points from their first two-game homestand of the season.
Dynamo forward Darwin Quintero scored the go-ahead goal against Miami early in the second half last Saturday after he finished a cross from defender Griffin Dorsey. Dynamo forward Fafa Picault finished with a brace and earned MLSSoccer.com Team of the Week (TOTW) honors after his performance in his hometown. The 2021 Dynamo MVP scored in front of more than 40 members of his family and friends that joined him on Saturday. Picault is the second Dynamo player to earn TOTW honors this season.
Defensively, centerback Ethan Bartlow made his MLS debut on Saturday. The 22-year-old made his professional debut the week before in Houston Dynamo 2’s victory over Whitecaps FC at Aveva Stadium. Bartlow finished with four clearances and one recovery in his MLS debut. The Dynamo backline limited Miami to a 22.7 percent shot accuracy on Saturday and Miami’s lone goal of the match came from the penalty spot.
The Dynamo enter Saturday’s match with a 10-2-1 (WLD) record against San Jose in Houston. Overall, the Dynamo hold the edge in the all-time series with a 14-9-4 record against San Jose. The Dynamo won the series against the Earthquakes in 2021 and the lone victory in the series came on Opening Day with a 2-1 victory at PNC Stadium on April 16. Both sides played to a 1-1 draw in San Jose on July 24.
San Jose earned a point at home over the weekend after scoring two goals late in the second half against Austin FC. Cade Cowell and Jeremy Ebobisse led the ‘Quakes to a 2-2 draw to remain unbeaten at home this season.
The Dynamo backline will also have to contain Cristian Espinoza, who enters the match with one goal and one assist this season. Matias Almeyda is in his fourth season as the head coach of the team and aims to qualify for the postseason for the second time since he joined the team in fall 2018.
The Dynamo host their first doubleheader ever with Houston Dynamo 2 next Saturday at PNC Stadium as both teams face the Portland Timbers. The 2021 Western Conference Champions visit PNC Stadium on April 16 at 5 p.m. and that match will be followed by the Dynamo 2 vs. Timbers 2 match at 8 p.m. For tickets and additional information, visit HoustonDynamoFC.com.
Here are three key points ahead of Saturday’s match:
NAGAMURA EARNS FIRST ROAD POINTS: Saturday’s victory was a milestone for head coach Paulo Nagamura, who matched Dominic Kinnear for the earliest road victory as a first-year head coach for the Dynamo. Nagamura earned his first road victory in his second road trip and fifth overall game. Kinnear also earned his first road victory on his second road trip and fifth overall game, a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids on April 29, 2006. Owen Coyle earned his first three points on the road on his fourth road trip in 2015. Wilmer Cabrera needed 10 road games to earn his first victory on the road in 2017 and Tab Ramos earned his first victory away from Houston in his fifth road trip in 2020.
QUINTERO OFFERS A DOSE OF MAGIC: The Dynamo return to PNC Stadium with momentum after a three-goal performance in Florida over the weekend. Forward Darwin Quintero was key in the first two goals of the match, first by capitalizing on a deflected cross and heading home his third goal of the year. The forward also won the penalty kick later in the second half for what proved to be the game-winning goal. Quintero has played a large role in Houston’s offensive push this year and he currently leads the league in non-penalty goals per 90 minutes at .97, according to FBRef.com. The Dynamo will look to keep the playmaker in top form on Saturday as he faces one of two teams in the conference that has allowed more than 10 goals in their first five games of the season.
SAN JOSE IN SEARCH OF FIRST VICTORY: The Earthquakes are the lone team in the Western Conference without a victory this season. San Jose surged late in the second half to come from behind and earn a 2-2 draw with Austin FC at home. The Quakes will be anxious to find the back of the net on Saturday as they have been held scoreless in their first two road trips of the season, a 1-0 loss at Minnesota on March 19 and a 2-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union in Pennsylvania on March 12. Jan Gregus will play a key role in midfield as he creates opportunities for a talented front line that includes Jeremy Ebobisse, Cade Cowell and Cristian Espinoza.