This will be a bigger challenge than DC United. The Dynamo have lost Dwayne DeRosario, Stuart Holden, and Ricardo Clark over the last two seasons but continue to be one the better sides in MLS. Dominic Kinnear has done an excellent job of replacing departing players and not missing much of a beat. Although Brian Ching is out with a hamstring injury they are still a difficult team to play against.
The back line has not changed much through the first four matches. We'll likely see Bobby Boswell and Eddie Robinson at center with Mike Chabala on the left and Andrew Hainault on the right. The midfield is anchored by one of the more uderrated players in MLS. Brad Davis will start on the left side and handle free kick duties, where is he very dangerous. Corey Ashe or Brian Mullan will start on the right. Geoff Cameron, a converted defender, has been moved into a central attacking role since the departure of Holden necessitated an athletic presence in the middle. Jamaican international Lovel Palmer got his first start in midfield last week in place of the injured Brian Mulrooney and rewarded Houston with a long distance goal of the week strike in the 3-0 beat down of Chivas USA.
The front line will see Dominic Oduro teamed up with designated player bust Luis Landin or Brian Mullan, who started at forward against Chivas. Landin may not be an official bust yet but he's done nothing to justify designated player status since his acquistion last summer. The Dynamo have re-signed Joseph Ngwenya but his transfer paperwork is still stuck somewhere in international limbo.
From the Fire's side, Carlos De Los Cobos has not let on whether or not he will return to the 4-5-1 formation that worked for the Fire in DC.
Dasan Robinson will miss the match with an abdominal strain so we should see Tim Ward return to the right back spot. I'm expecting that Conde, Brown, and Krol will round out the back four. Logan Pause and John Thorrington are still out so Baggio Husidic and Peter Lowry should see action again in central midfield. Nyarko and Pappa are fixtures and we will find out soon enough if Justin Mapp can maintain his efforts from last week.
Prediction : The Fire needs to start defending their home turf but I'll go with a 1-1 draw.
I'm not braggin or anything but last week's picks were a perfect 7-0. Undefeated, no losses, all correct...okay...bragging a little.
New York 1 Philadelphia 0
New England 1 Colorado 0
Real Salt Lake 2 Columbus 2
Kansas City 1 Los Angeles 0
Chivas USA 1 San Jose 0
Seattle 1 Toronto 1
The Injury Report
CHICAGO FIRE -- OUT: FW Calen Carr (R quad strain); DF Steven Kinney (L hamstring strain); MF John Thorrington (L quad strain); DF Dasan Robinson (abdominal strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Logan Pause (L knee sprain)
HOUSTON DYNAMO -- OUT: FW Brian Ching (L hamstring strain); FW Cam Weaver (R knee strain); DOUBTFUL: MF Richard Mulrooney (R knee inflammation)
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