The San Jose Earthquakes are scheduled to kick off the 2021 MLS regular season on Friday evening with a road clash at the Houston Dynamo. Ahead of the curtain-raiser, I spoke to Dustyn Richardson of SB Nation’s Houston soccer site Dynamo Theory to get the scoop on the Quakes’ upcoming opponents. Thanks to Dustyn for taking the time to answer my questions!
Center Line Soccer asks Dynamo Theory:
1. It’s the first game of the season, so what’s happened with the Dynamo since the last time we saw them? Any big changes in the offseason to the roster or anything else around the club?
The biggest cosmetic change at the club is the new crest along with the addition of “FC” to the name. Houston Dynamo FC also made some moves on the field, most notably strengthening the defense by trading for center back Tim Parker from the New York Red Bulls. The Dynamo didn’t bring in any “name” guys from overseas, instead adding to the roster domestically with the likes of Joe Corona, Derrick Jones, and Tyler Pasher. The team is still very much a work in progress under second year coach Tab Ramos, and finding an identity both on and off the field this offseason has been a big task.
2. How was the preseason for the Dynamo and how do you expect Friday’s opener to go for them?
The preseason for the Dynamo has been all about finding a mix of 11 guys that work. The team finally has some depth now and Ramos has been tinkering with all of the parts to find what works. Results wise, the Dynamo lost out on the new La Copita preseason tournament between Texas teams, falling to FC Dallas in the de facto final. Fans and media usually love to read a lot into preseason games and results but especially with this Dynamo team it’s very hard to draw any real conclusions from their handful of warm up matches.
3. Where do you expect/project Houston to finish in 2021?
All things considered, it would be a highly successful year if the Dynamo are competing for a playoff spot this fall. I just don’t think Houston is ready to be a playoff team given the state of other teams in the West, the lack of difference makers on the roster (they have 1 designated player in Darwin Quintero), and the team still growing into a finished product under Ramos. There is always a chance they could shock some people this year but I’d say they’re looking at somewhere around a 10th place finish in the Western Conference in 2021.
You can find my answers to Dustyn’s questions on the Earthquakes at Dynamo Theory.
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