Continuing a new feature at HoustonDynamo.com, we preview the upcoming game with Dynamo broadcaster Glenn Davis (Twitter: @GlennDavisSoc). The former professional player calls Dynamo game on ROOT SPORTS and hosts two radio shows – Dynamo All-Access (7-9 p.m. on Wednesday’s on KGOW 1560 AM) and Soccer Matters (Tuesday’s 7-9 p.m. on KFNC 97.5 FM) and also calls games for Fox Sports, ESPN, the Longhorn Network and more. Click here for podcasts of interviews from both shows and visit Davis' Soccer Matters Facebook page for daily soccer content. Wednesday's match kicks off at 8 p.m. CT and will be broadcast live on ROOT SPORTS Southwest.
Matt Pedersen: The Dynamo opened a 2-0 lead in Portland on Friday but couldn't hold off the Timbers, who scored twice in the final 15 minutes for a 2-2 draw. Many will see the game as two points lost, but the Dynamo are just three points out of a playoff spot with nine games left and the opportunities will be there, with teams they are chasing on the schedule. What did you take away from the Portland game and what mentality should the Dynamo have heading to Colorado?
Glenn Davis: The Dynamo spirit was strong in Portland, but I am sure they felt this was like points dropped and Owen Coyle clearly mentioned that this was a time he needed to build he squad up after failing to manage out the result. Still, you earned a point in a tough environment, on a non-authentic surface, and were missing Giles Barnes, Ricardo Clark, and DaMarcus Beasley. Going in to Colorado, the Dynamo must be cavalier but with the intent on managing and slowing the game down through good decision making and ball possession to counter the altitude. Confidence should be high!
MP: The Rapids play the lowest-scoring games in the league, with the fewest goals scored (21) and a tie for the fewest goals conceded (25) through 24 games this season. In the two games between the Dynamo and Rapids this season, just one goal has been scored, Mauro Manotas' game-winner in the U.S. Open Cup on June 30. What challenges will Colorado's defensive tactics present Wednesday night in a game the Dynamo will try and win?
GD: The LA Galaxy went in to Colorado and scored three goals, but to my point above the decision making on the ball, possession to manage and control games and keep large portions of road games on your terms is vital. The Dynamo veterans have got to lead the way at this juncture of the season and others will follow suit. They must be present in the tough times!
MP: The field at Dick's Sporting Goods Park is one of the largest in MLS, at 120 yards long by 75 yards wide. Coupled with the high altitude of Denver (over 5,000 feet) how could the large field impact the Dynamo against the Rapids?
GP: It is a large surface after playing on the smaller one at Providence Park, measuring things becomes different when it comes to passing the ball. Intelligent running and economical running is vital so as to not complicate the altitude. For instance, striker Will Bruin must be careful when pressing defenders to not do too much running that burns energy and ultimately fatigues on the larger surface. A great team shape is important, in my humble opinion, and you must be careful not to get stretched out.
MP: The Rapids have sold two of their brightest young talents to European clubs this season – forward Deshorn Brown and defender Shane O'Neill. While individual player ambitions and finances can make transfer decisions easier, do you think it still is a tough pill for Rapids fans to swallow, seeing two of their young players sold?
GD: It is always tough to see players sold when young. I remember the scar left at Everton when Wayne Rooney was sold to Manchester United – having grown up in Liverpool the Everton fans felt Rooney was a traitor. It hurts fans, but sometimes even more when it is young players, those who have yet to realize their potential for a club. They still have young talent with Dillon Serna and Dillon Powers, but one has to relate this to the direction the club is going in. I am really not sure what direction the Rapids are going in based on their player moves. They have signed Sarvas, Figueroa and Doyle, who are all older players, but how long will they be in Colorado?
MP: Will Bruin has now scored 10 or more goals in three seasons, the most in Dynamo history. To put his accomplishment in context, only one other player from his 2011 draft class – third rounder Joao Plata – has recorded a 10-goal season in MLS. What do you think of Will's accomplishment, and his evolution as a striker since his rookie season?
GD: Will Bruin has benefited this year from competition and the knowledge that he is not a shoe in to be a starter every game. Humans thrive off competition and we all benefit from it. The signing of Cubo Torres only elevates the competition at the striker position. Healthy pressure is great, and to have a manager that was a high-scoring striker as a pro in Owen Coyle is a huge opportunity for Will. He has had a strong year and I have seen more emotion and maturity from this solid young man. You can even sense his seriousness and application more in media interviews. He has lead from the front and his involvement in the two goals at Portland was fantastic.
MP: Boniek Garcia has two goals and three assists in his last four appearances (182 total minutess) for the Dynamo. What have you seen in Boniek's performances of late that could be involved in his improved production?
GD: He seems fresh. More smiling means a happy Boniek. He has had some tough times with injury and got hurt playing for the Dynamo prior to the 2014 World Cup. It seems he never was able to get fresh and he lost that smile that is indicative of him playing well. We see him being more positive in the last few games with the penetrating pass and his desire to take people on. Boniek Garcia is here to make plays along with being a workmanlike player. He is getting back to his old self, hopefully at the right time! He is such a fun player to watch when he is "on"!
MP: Brad Davis has also seen increased productivity of late, with one goal and three assists in his last five games as he has played largely in a central midfield role. What have you seen from Brad in the central role over the last few weeks?
GD: Brad Davis taking over, Brad Davis being the decision maker is a plus for the Dynamo. If he is making plays along with Boniek and Barnes, then you have threat from a variety of areas, which is the ultimate goal. He still is one of the best at opening up a defense in MLS and his vision and decision-making is a huge piece of the Dynamo during the run of play. Of course that is without mentioning his set piece delivery. The more he is on the ball, the better!