We preview today’s game at the Portland Timbers with Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis. Today’s match will air live on ESPN2, with kickoff set for 5:00 p.m. CT. Davis, a 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.
Matt Pedersen: The Dynamo extended their unbeaten streak to four games in all competitions after a 0-0 draw with D.C. United on Saturday. What are your takeaways from the game?
Glenn Davis: The D.C. United match can be conditioned many ways, but for me not winning that match with D.C. United missing Alvaro Saborio, Chris Rolfe, Fabian Espindola, and Patrick Nyarko was an opportunity missed. The best area of the field was the trio of DaMarcus Beasley, Boniek García and Cristian Maidana from an attacking standpoint. Still, to get the best out of the recent road points one has to win this game. On the other hand, the Dynamo have not lost under Wade Barrett.
MP: The Dynamo have allowed just two goals in four games since Wade Barrett was appointed interim head coach. What have you seen from the team that has led to few chances for opponents?
GD: More compactness as a team and tighter lines have made the Dynamo a bit more difficult to break down, and I know the manager Wade Barrett is stressing this and defining roles. Cristian Maidana has continued as a wide man and Barrett is expecting him to defend. In the case of last weekend’s match, D.C. United really rarely looked to attack and were playing for a point. With the increased emphasis on being harder to play against the Dynamo at some point have to score goals to win games, so I am sure Barrett and his staff are seeking out solutions.
MP:While the team’s defense has improved, the Dynamo have scored two goals in the last three league games. Is it possible for the Dynamo to take more risk on offense while maintaining the same defensive principals?
GD: Of course it is possible, but recognizing those moments as a team can be an art form. Still, at some point the Dynamo have to figure this out because games have to be won. I am sure Barrett and his staff are seeking solutions. Do you play with two strikers out of a 4-4-2? Do you move Giles Barnes into a striker position for his pace and threat behind defenses like he has done in the past? Does Mauro Manotas get a starting opportunity? What is the future of Cubo Torres after the Olympics, provided he goes? These are all real questions that Barrett has to contend with as a manager.
MP: Collen Warner has slotted into a defined defensive midfield role in a 4-1-4-1 formation. What effect has that had on the club?
GD: Collen has added stability and protection to the two center backs. He is an effective shield and he balances the team out and can allow outside backs to get forward into the attack. His role is vital as his pass is often one that gets you out of pressure.
MP: The Portland Timbers present a formidable central core, highlighted by forward Fanendo Adi, attacking midfielder Diego Valeri and defensive midfielder Diego Chara. What does this trio provide for Caleb Porter’s team, which won MLS Cup last year?
GD: They are all very important elements to Portland. Adi is the target-type, powerful striker, Valeri the passing and idea machine, and Chara, who is the two-way workmanlike midfielder that plays every game like it is his last. All three are leaders in differing ways and responsible footballers.
MP: How would you define the Timbers their style of play?
GD: Well, there is always a value placed on the ball by manager Caleb Porter. They will press a lot and feed off the energy of the crowd. Let’s not forget Darlington Nagbe, who was moved central which led them on the run to the MLS Cup title, is not available (away with the U.S. national team) so that is a break to a degree. Defending MLS Cup Champions they are.
MP: Finally, what are your impressions on Copa America and the performance of the U.S. and Mexico?
GD: The U.S. performance can be looked at in differing ways but few would have thought they get out of the group, let alone to the semifinals beating Costa Rica, Paraguay and Ecuador. Stock has risen for Bobby Wood and John Brooks. A settled back four can be built upon now and former Dynamo Geoff Cameron has emerged as a leader and had a strong tournament. We did learn that Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones still are needed for this U.S. National Team. Still, I thought Colombia could have been beaten in the Third Place game, so still an empty feeling to end it.
As for Mexico, the question is Juan Carlos Osorio and him being the right fit as a coach for El Tri. Jamaica exposed them and it was not surprising they went out in the quarters, what was surprising was how they were mauled by Chile 7-0. The irony was that Jurgen Klinsmann was criticized for lacking consistency with player selection and it is the same now with Osorio. The Copa America as a whole has been amazing and amazing for Houston, Texas!