Houston Dynamo vs Colorado Rapids
MLS Regular Season, Week 24
August 17, 2019 - 7:00 PM
BBVA Compass Stadium - Houston, Texas
Irwin shines, goal streak ends...
The Colorado Rapids (7-13-5, 11th in the MLS Western Conference) look to right the ship in the second stop of their four-game road trip after suffering a 1-0 defeat to Minnesota United midweek. The match was a reversal of fortune for the Rapids, who, despite having defeated MNUFC earlier this season in DICK’S Sporting Goods Park, couldn’t muster the same result in their first time playing in Minnesota’s new Allianz Field.
Goalkeeper Clint Irwin impressed in his second consecutive start filling in for the injured Tim Howard. Irwin notched eight saves against the nine shots that Minnesota put on target, including a sure-handed penalty save against Darwin Quintero in the 36th minute to keep the match scoreless. After the match, Irwin acknowledged his productive night with a tinge of discontent that it came in a loss. “I knew I could play this way. It’s good to show it on the field in front of everybody. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the result and you like to get those kind of performances in a win, and that’s what we’ll look to do Saturday,” Irwin said.
As all good things must come to an end and the loss ends the Rapids record of 15 consecutive games with a goal. It’s the first time since interim head coach Conor Casey took over on May 1st that the Rapids failed to score. With weapons like Kei Kamara and Diego Rubio revving the engine of Colorado’s offensive firepower, fans can expect the goals to return sooner rather than later.
Can a new face lead Houston to the playoffs?
It’s been a long season and a longer fall from grace for the Houston Dynamo (9-13-3, ninth in the MLS Western Conference). What once was a team tied with league-leading LAFC after two months of play (6-1-1 over their first eight games) is now a disparate squad that’s on the outside looking in to secure a playoff spot, and that slide has cost former head coach Wimer Cabrera his job, the team announced on Tuesday.
Assistant Davy Arnaud, a former MLS midfielder and US men's national team player, will take over the reins of a team that desperately needs to flip the switch. Since a May 18th victory against D.C. United, the Dynamo have only managed to secure seven points, going 2-11-1. Last week’s 2-1 loss against Philadelphia Union marked four straight defeats for the Dynamo in league play, which was the apparent nail in the coffin for Cabrera.
Citing the desire to bring a “new perspective” to the team, Dynamo general manager Matt Jordan did not mince words when discussing the decision. “I don't think anybody believes that our record over the last couple months is a reflection of the quality of our group,” said Jordan.
Still, the Dynamo, with a four-point lead over Colorado in the standings, are an up-and-down side and the Rapids will need to steal three points to keep their own slim playoff chances alive. The Dynamo will come out with a little extra firepower for their new coach’s first match at BBVA Stadium, which should play a part in an exciting and emotional match.
Player to Watch: A silver lining in the Dynamo’s loss in Philly was the newly-acquired Christian Ramirez, a 28-year-old forward from Santa Ana, California. Traded at the deadline by LAFC in exchange for a package of allocation money, Ramirez wasted no time in his Dynamo debut. He slotted home Houston’s only goal of the game off of an assist from DaMarcus Beasley, in addition to providing a couple more good opportunities for a team that’s lacked them throughout their recent drought. In a game that’s all about establishing a new energy for the team going forward, expect for Arnaud to lean on Ramirez to power the attack.
What to watch for...
Connor Cape, Radio Play-by-Play Announcer
The road trip didn't start the way Colorado would have preferred. A 1-0 midweek loss and the first time under interim head coach Conor Casey where Colorado didn't score. That's the bad news. The good news is Clint Irwin stood on his head and everybody knows what they'll be getting should he have to fill in again for the injured captain, Tim Howard.
Next up for the Burgundy Boys it's the Houston Dynamo just three days after Minnesota. The short gap between games will actually play into the Rapids' hands. No time to dwell on the loss, focus has to shift immediately to the next match and it's a quick opportunity to right the wrongs from Wednesday night.
Jordan Angeli, Radio Analyst
Saturday is a big game for the Rapids. Houston is sitting just four points above them in ninth place. The Rapids need to pull some points away from teams who are looking to make a run into playoffs. Houston heads into Saturday with a week of rest, where the Rapids had to travel to Minnesota for a midweek clash. For the Rapids, in order to get points they need to contain the big two: Manotas and Elis. The matchup between Elis and Vines will be one to keep your eye on throughout the game, and the Rapids will need to be alert and disciplined to slow the duo. Colorado has to feel confident with Irwin in net as he made some outstanding saves to keep them in the game on Wednesday.