The Dynamo beat Nashville SC in Houston… but the time since has not gone so well. Can NSC get revenge – and seal its trip to the playoffs for the third straight year?
Opponent: Houston Dynamo (9-17-6)
Time, Location: Sunday, Oct. 2, 7:30 p.m. CDT • GEODIS Park
Weather: 70ºF, 1% chance of rain, 43% humidity, 8 mph NNE wind
Follow: MLS MatchCenter • @ClubCountryUSA • @NashvilleSC
Watch/Stream • Listen: MyTV30/NashvilleSC.com (local), ESPN+ (national) • IHeartRadio/El Jefe 96.7 (Español)
Match officials: Referee: Guido Gonzalez. Assistants: Nick Uranga, Jeremy Kieso. Fourth Official: Jeremy Scheer. Video Assistants: Alex Chilowicz, TJ Zablocki
Vegas Odds: Nashville SC -200 Draw +288, Houston +288
|Stat||Nashville SC||Houston Dynamo|
|Record (W-L-D)||12-9-11 (1.47 PPG)|
|9-17-6 (1.03 PPG)|
|Recent form (most recent first)||D-D-W-W-W||L-W-D-L-W|
|xG Power||+0.46 (5th MLS)||-0.57 (28th (last) MLS)|
|G Power||+0.23 (7th MLS)||-0.24 (21st MLS)|
|“Luck”||-0.27 (24th MLS)||-0.06 (15th MLS)|
|Offense||+0.19 (8th MLS)||-0.25 (22nd MLS)|
|Defense||-0.27 (6th MLS)||+0.32 (25th MLS)|
|Venue advantage||-0.78 Home (28th MLS)||-0.01 Away (16th MLS)|
|Injury report||QUEST.: M Aníbal Godoy (thigh), M Alex Muyl (concussion)||OUT: M Daniel Steres (arm), D Xavier Valdez (head) QUEST.: F Roberto Avila (leg), M Hector Herrera (leg), M Memo Rodriguez (leg)|
Last time around, this team was clearly bad… and I’ll take a little victory lap for my take that Paulo Nagamura was as-bad-as and probably worse than fired coach Tab Ramos…
Houston has one of the least efficient offenses in MLS in generating chances, and one of the worst defenses when it comes to preventing them. Sources indicate this is not ideal – and also that maybe the front office, not Tab Ramos, has been the problem in Houston. Replacing him with Paulo Nagamura has helped only when it comes to overachieving underlying numbers, not actually producing better soccer.May 14
The Dynamo has obviously changed since… but the big picture might not be that different.
The biggest change is the addition of Mexico international Hector Herrera, but you’ll note from the above that he’s questionable tonight, and – spoiler alert – if he shows up, it’ll not only be the first time since my parents’ 45th anniversary on Aug. 20 (love you, mom and dad!), but also he has not changed the fortunes of this team. That’s despite being borderline-elite in G+, it brings my Liga MX-hating, advanced stats-loving heart no pleasure to report. He’s an elite interruptor and pretty good at getting into dangerous spots in the rare event he’s available. For whatever reason, that’s made his team worse, not better.
The attack is extremely defined: Sebas Ferreira and Darwin Quintero trade off as striker and creator (similar to Nashville’s setup where Hany Mukhtar may be an attacking midfielder by label, but he and CJ Sapong are really a strike pairing that share responsibilities). Playing as the more advanced of the two more often than not, Ferreira is the one who provides a little less service, and is instead tilted toward scoring. hey’re complemented on one wing by former US International Fafa Picault – who has been even more productive than Ferreira when it comes to generating xG, though he’s not converting as well – and a rotating cast of Corey Baird, Tyler Pasher (longtime NSC fans will remember his tenure with Indy Eleven), and draft pick Thor Úlfarsson playing strike while one of the big two shifts wide.May 14
Picault has kept up – or improved! – his performances while Ferreira has slid back to being one of the worst players in MLS according to G+.
It’s the defense that has been a major issue – inasmuch as when there are many significant issues, any one of them is “major” – and unfortunately for multiple Houston head coaches this season the personnel has largely been consistent: look for Adam Lundqvist, Teenage Hadebe, Tim Parker, and Griffin Dorsey from left to right (Dorsey’s the least nailed-on starter, but was made available to media this week, so).
Keeper Steve Clark rocks (as usual, dating back to his Timber days), but he’s faced a ton of rubber this year.
The Boys in Gold
You know this team. Nashville should be about as healthy as possible, with questions around Aníbal Godoy (a key member, yes, but of a rotation that includes three-plus starter-caliber players for two positions) and Alex Muyl (a great player but not sure starter in the Shaffelburg Era).
Keys to the game
- Extremely Adrian from 1979 hit film Rocky voice. “Just win”
- But also contractually obligated to say at least twice voice. “set pieces.”
Nashville SC 4, Houston Dynamo 2