The Quakes (2-2-3) play their third game in a week against the Houston Dynamo (3-2-1) in BBVA Compass Stadium at 1:00 pm PDT. Houston is undefeated at home (3-0-1) while the Quakes are winless on the road (0-2-1).
Houston Dynamo Predictions
Houston sits in fourth place in the Western Conference standings, one spot above San Jose. Erick “Cubo” Torres leads MLS with six goals (two via PK). Teammate Rommell Quioto has three of his own. Expect an attack that will challenge a tired Quakes defense.
The Dynamo are second in the West with 13 goals scored in just six games played in 2017. Torres and Quioto will be starting for a revamped Houston squad that could score at any time. Expect the 4-3-3, which has brought success against San Jose this season. Torres, Quioto, and Alberth Elis should get the start. In the midfield, Alex and Ricardo Clark on the wings with Eric Alexander as the defensive mid. DaMarcus Beasley and Boniek Garcia (both in the twilight of their careers) should start at fullback, with Joe Willis in goal.
Tactically, expect a press similar to the ones used by Sporting KC and NYCFC which brought wins versus the Quakes. Also, expect a lot of dives from Houston in the box to try and draw PKs.
I doubt Dom Kinnear will change anything about the formation, but I do hope Kinnear has a change in tactics. Expect a 4-4-2 with the Lima, Muma, Flo, and Francis on the backline; Hyka, Godoy, Fatai, and Cato in the midfield, with Urena and Wondo up top.
Tactically, the Quakes should play a defensively conservative game given the firepower of Houston. If the Quakes play a bunker-and-counter 4-4-2, instead of the press they’ve been running, the Quakes could take advantage of an overly aggressive Houston attack and set up quality counter-attack opportunities.
Which team has gotten better since Dom Kinnear left Houston? This will be the barometer to Kinnear’s coaching success as Houston appears to be a team on the rise while the Quakes remain stagnant. That said, I think there’s added pressure for Kinnear to score goals, so he will probably play the press 4-4-2 to his peril, which will set up more than enough odd-man rushes for Houston to score at least two goals, probably three. I also predict that Kinnear will continue to rely on crosses from the wings due to a lack of a CAM formation, which will be a colossal failure.
Houston doesn’t lose at home, and the Quakes don’t win on the road. I hope the Quakes can escape with a 1-1 draw. But given the predictability of Kinnear, the offensive weaponry of Houston, and a tired Quakes defense playing their third game in a week against a rested Dynamo squad in Houston, the stats say 3-0 Dynamo.