Los Angeles FC-Dynamo Preview
While the eyes of the soccer world remain on the World Cup in Russia, the Houston Dynamo return to action on Tuesday against Los Angeles FC at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston.
Houston is coming off a 10-day MLS break after losing to Sporting Kansas City 3-2 on June 24 despite Mauro Manotas' two goals, one of which was scored just two minutes into the match, and owning a 2-0 lead at halftime.
"The first half, we played well and the second half we didn't," Houston defender DeMarcus Beasley said after the loss at Kansas City. "I have to learn to play 90 minutes, especially on the road. We have to have the right mentality in these games, especially up 2-0. We have to get something out if it."
The Dynamo are 6-6-3 overall and 1-4-3 on the road. Houston has a 2-4-2 record against MLS Western Conference opponents this season.
Houston has used 15 different starting lineup combinations in its 15 matches this season.
In the interim, the Dynamo hosted Mexican side CF Monterrey on Friday in the annual BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup, losing 2-1 on a second-half goal in injury time by the visitors.
The Dynamo went 12-1-4 in Houston last year. So far this season, they are 5-2-0 at home. While that does not signal a crack in the fortress wall, it does show signs of vulnerability that teams are hoping to exploit.
Beasley said the loss to Monterrey is another example that the Dynamo have to figure out a way to finish matches.
"At home, we can usually get away with less than 90 minutes because teams wear out in our stadium," Beasley said. "We have to learn how to play a full game. Even those that we've won, we haven't played well the whole game. We have to keep pushing, and as close to the top as we can. To do that, our mentality has to be a lot better."
LAFC posted a definitive 4-1 win at home over Philadelphia on Saturday. Norwegian striker Adama Diomande produced Los Angeles' first-ever hat trick in the win, which kept LAFC undefeated at home.
"The goals are great," LAFC coach Bob Bradley said of his striker's performance. "I know they'll keep coming because of the way he moves, but I was very pleased with the quality of some of his touches and passing, too."
The victory kept LAFC (9-4-3) in third place in the Western Conference and left Bradley's team just two points behind first-place Sporting Kansas City with one game in hand.
LAFC will have a chance to -- at least temporarily -- move to the top of the West on on Tuesday, with the two teams above it in the standings playing the next day.
Diomande's goals came in the 25th, 43rd and 55th minutes giving him seven in his first five games. LAFC won its fifth in a row, including two in the U.S. Open Cup.
"I really don't care about the numbers," Diomande said. "I'm not that guy. I'm just going into training every day, smiling with my teammates. It's just a bonus to get that history."
This will be the first-ever match between the Dynamo and LAFC. The follow-up will be in October in Los Angeles.
Updated July 1, 2018