by Harrison Crow (@Harrison_Crow)
If there is one thing that we know about sports it's simply that familiarity breeds hate. Classy line... and one that I had to steal because this introduction was, for some absurd reason, killing me. Face it, Houston moving back to the Western Conference this past year probably excited a lot of fans as it could mean a more prominent and possibly resurgent Texas Derby with both clubs meeting more often than once a year.
I feel as if the most quoted thing in connection with the Dynamo is how soon can they get Erik 'Cubo' Torres. I don't want to exaggerate and call them a terrible team, but they haven't had a real good showing of late. Either their defense is terrible, their attack is anemic, or it's some gross combination of the two. The sick thing about this is that our numbers actually indicate that they might actually end up being the better team.
Okay, Mr. Snooty. You can point to the current standings and wag your finger at FC Dallas but indulge me for a moment. Forget about Houston being tied for seventh place in points per game; they have thus far been the inverse of FC Dallas, with a smidge more than an expected goal per match and just less than one expected goal against. This presents the possibility, despite the disparity in the standings, that these two teams are a lot closer than many would readily admit.
I think it's fair to suspect FC Dallas might go on a downward spiral at some point in their 2015 campaign. Not because they're "Dallas" and thus making it something easy to call, but it has to do with the amount of shots their surrendering, the leverage index of those shots and the fact that they are who they are. Also, Dallas becomes unbearable in summer time this according to my own personal research and experience of it being "hot as balls" when I visited.
That being said, Dallas has a great quartet of Mauro Diaz, Tesho Akindele, Blas Perez and Fabian Castillo. While this group has been described with excess hyperbole by many early in the season, it's still a very good grouping of talent that can hurt you very quickly and through multiple delivery methods.
Michele and Diaz are both gifted at delivering from dead balls and set pieces, Castillo and Akindele have tons of physical gifts mixed with fun technical abilities that make watching highlights a joy. Blas Perez is a brute that wins balls in the air and is excellent back to goal. Let's not attempt to convince ourselves that this attack is not going to get better at some point.
I think this game boils down to which team can find the right mix of shots and leverage opportunity. Will Texas finally start taking more regular attempts as they get those opportunities presented or will they squander them looking for the best chance that might not come?
Likewise I think Houston needs to use their creativity to find shots that aren't just shots added to a tally but are meaningful in the way that might increase the probability in their favor.
Tyler Deric (Selected 17.8% , Cost $5.0)
Surprisingly enough Deric has been a top-three keeper in MLS according to our G -xG rankings. Houston's shots allowed gives credence to the idea that he might just be able to sustain this.
DeMarcus Beasley (Selected 14.9% , Cost $7.1)
Possibly one the best all around fullbacks in MLS and right now the best fantasy full back fake money can buy. The question is have to ask yourself is do you value full backs on defense over centerbacks that have dominated the season thus far?
Chris Seitz (Selected 20.8%, Cost $4.9)
A solid keeper in his own right, Seitz ownership mostly spawns from the three clean sheets in the first four matches of the season. But the Dallas defense is allowing a lot of shots which kind of limits his long term value.
Ryan Hollingshead (Selected 20.8%, Cost $5.4)
The injuries sustained by Mauro Diaz directly related to the early minutes which Hollingshead received. His cost is reasonable but with the return of Diaz it's a legit question of how many minutes he's going to regularly see.
THE WEEKEND MATCH-UPS
(expected goal differential in even game-states)
Dallas FC (0.05) @ Houston Dynamo (-0.10)
San Jose (-0.03) @ Real Salt Lake (-0.41)
Toronto FC (-0.23) @ Philadelphia Union (-0.06)
Columbus Crew SC (0.30) @ DC United (-0.54)
Prediction: CCSC, FTW!
Colorado Rapids (-0.19) @ LA Galaxy (0.00)
Vancouver (0.06) @ Portland Timbers FC (0.00)
Chicago Fire (-0.08) @ Sports Kansas City (0.63)
Seattle Sounders FC (0.04) @ New York City FC (-0.53)
Yeah, go see it before all your friends do and spoil all the good parts.