We preview tonight’s game against the LA Galaxy with Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis. The former professional player can be seen on national soccer broadcasts on ESPN and FOX and hosts the Soccer Matters radio show.Look for moredaily soccer contentfrom Davis on hisSoccer MattersFacebook page and Twitter. Tickets are still available for tonight’s match, with show time set for 5:45 p.m. CDT.
Matt Pedersen:The Dynamo largely dominated the Sounders in the first half on Sunday, with 14 shots, six shots on goal and 17 open-play crosses But Seattle gained a foothold in the game in the second half and found a late equalizing goal from Chad Marshall. What are your thoughts on last Sunday's 1-1 draw with Seattle?
Glenn Davis: Well, we would certainly look at it very differently if the Dynamo had seen the match out and got a 1-0 win. It was an excellent first half, and as we all know in football you hopefully produce goals during your best times. A second goal in that half could have changed this day dramatically and of course we can all point to singular moments and the “woulda, coulda, shoulda”. It's easy now, post game. I still think the Dynamo do have the challenge of finding the right blend of pushing to get a second goal and managing a lead in the second half. The Dynamo to me were the better team, but Seattle won the bench game, getting more out of their changes. I felt with Herculez Gomez and Oalex Anderson, Seattle made a push in the latter stages of the second half.
MP:The Galaxy turned over some key pieces of their roster, including the sale of Omar Gonzalez and Juninho to Pachuca and Club Tijuana, respectively. They've brought in some experienced European veterans in Ashley Cole, Jelle Van Damme and Nigel de Jong, who is suspended for Friday's game. How does this Galaxy roster compare to those of previous seasons?
GD: It is more experienced with the changes and the introduction of the three mentioned above, along with Mike Magee. We will see how these moves pan out in the long term.
MP:Robbie Keane is unavailable Friday night after knee surgery a few weeks ago. The Galaxy still have talented attacking players, including Giovani dos Santos, Mike Magee and Gyasi Zardes. How does the Galaxy style of play change without Keane? Does it change at all with Gerrard back in the lineup?
GD: Very different without the press, desire, skill and want of Robbie Keane, who has been a top three player in this league for years. I think they lose a bit of penetration and threat over the top without Robbie but it can be regained by playing Gyasi Zardes in the striker role with Gio dos Santos underneath. Gio wants the ball at his feet in the final third. Incidentally he is the nephew of former Houston Dynamos and Houston Hotshots Beto dos Santos, a former teammate of mine, so I am looking forward to seeing Gio, who was moved to the Barcelona youth system at a young age. His father Zizinho also played at Club America in Mexico.
If Steven Gerrard is back in the lineup after injury, he will help to balance the team out in midfield and provide telling passes. He will help to get the likes of dos Santos and Zardes on the ball in good areas of the field so the Dynamo must be aware.
MP:Five games into the season, what are your overall thoughts on the Dynamo and their performances and style of play this season?
GD: More interesting, more entertaining and exciting now as Owen Coyle the manager says the team has to become the "finished article." Playing a full 90 minutes, concentration wise for individuals is important. They have admittedly left points on the table and much of it has been preventable. I feel that we are in for great times but now the results have to be married with the ever-important playing style. The potential is great!
MP: Bonus question I: Atletico Madrid pulled an upset over Barcelona on Wednesday in the Champions League quarterfinals. What did you make of Atletico's performance and the managerial performance of Diego Simeone over the two legs?
GD: Barcelona was in lesser form the two prior matches and were ripe for an upset and Atletico was always going to be tough. They are united and they fight, scratch and claw and can get pressure on the ball like nobody's business. They essentially defanged the world's best trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar. Their pressure on the ball and cover for each other is amazing and of course they are streamlined for the counter attack through (Antoine) Griezmann and (Yannick) Carrasco. I marveled at how quickly they can get behind the ball defensively. Simeone is both a tactician and a motivator! Amazing performance. Next up for Atletico is Bayern Munich. I can't wait for the semifinals!
MP: Bonus question II: Liverpool European Cup hero Alan Kennedy attended Dynamo training on Wednesday and will be at Friday’s Dynamo-Galaxy match to watch old friend Steven Gerrard with some of Houston’s Liverpool supporters. Tell us about his career.
GD: He is a gentleman and legendary Liverpool player and it is not everyday you can rub shoulders with a European Cup winner, not to mention one that scored the game-winning goal against Real Madrid. He is a throwback to the legendary Liverpool teams and the irony is that he is in town after Liverpool stunned Dortmund yesterday in the Europa League and Steven Gerrard is here with LA. He will be at the Dynamo match versus LA and is making the rounds in Houston. What a treat it was to meet him and interview him on my radio show.