Two teams looking for redemption following mid-week defeats go head-to-head on Sunday afternoon, as the Houston Dynamo play host to the Colorado Rapids at BBVA Compass Stadium. Can either return to winning ways?
The Rapids will be looking to make it a hat-trick of wins against the Dynamo this season. In May, they got the better of Sunday’s hosts, winning by three goals to one, while they repeated the feat at this venue in August.
Houston Dynamo – Out of sorts
It’s been a struggle for the Houston Dynamo of late, so much so that what little chance they had of making the postseason has now diminished entirely. Sunday’s hosts have won only one of their last six games, while they arrive here off the back of two straight defeats, losing away at Austin last time out.
The saving grace for the hosts is that their recent home form hasn’t been too bad. Before losing to LA Galaxy when they were last in action at this venue, the Dynamo went four home games without tasting defeat, winning three of those four. Their win over the Seattle Sounders was particularly eye-catching, and a similar effort could see them get a respectable result here, though they will need to be on it, that’s for sure.
Expected Line-Up: Maric – Valentin, Parker, Junqua, Lundqvist – Dorsey, Vera, Ceren, Picault – Quintero, Urruti.
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Colorado Rapids – Slacking on the road
The Rapids were beaten in the week, which means that their conference title hopes have been dented, though they’re still only three points shy of the division leaders, so hope is not lost yet.
What may prevent Sunday’s visitors from coming out on top in terms of the final Western Conference standings is their recent form away from the comforts of home. They’ve lost each of their last two on the road, scoring just one goal in the process. They can of course be forgiven for losing by just a single goal at New England, who are by far the best team in Major League Soccer this season, but their defeat away to RSL prior to that was disappointing. More is needed from the Rapids if they’re to maintain their lofty standing.
Expected Line-Up: Yarbrough – Abubakar, Moor, Trusty – Beitashour, Warner, Bassett, Esteves – Shinyashiki, Mezquida – Rubio.
Expert Pick #1 – Houston to Score Over 1.5 Goals @+115
In terms of points collected, the Rapids are one of the best away teams in the west, but their recent defensive efforts haven’t been great, so this must go down as an opportunity for the hosts to score some goals.
The visitors have conceded two or more in three of their last five on the road, while they’ve conceded xG figures of 1.5, 1.5, 1.2, 1.4 and 1.7 during that time. Such numbers don’t exactly scream defensive security. Meanwhile, the hosts have scored two or more in three of their last five at home, scoring twice against a very strong Seattle side, posting an expected goals for average of 1.62.
Expert Pick #2 – Colorado Rapids to Score Over 1.5 Goals @+125
Just like this is an opportunity for the hosts to flourish offensively, it has to go down as a chance for the visitors to find their feet in the final third too. The defensive cracks appeared for Houston last time out at this venue, when LA Galaxy, who’ve scored just one more goal than Colorado this season, notched three times, while the Rapids are no slouches when they get going, scoring two or more away against the likes of Portland, Galaxy, Minnesota and Cincinnati this season.
Moreover, when Colorado visited this venue earlier in the campaign, they notched not once, not twice, but thrice, producing a healthy 2.0 xG.
Expert Pick #3 – Over 3.5 Goals @+165
As touched on above, both teams have goals in them, while there’s reason to believe that both teams lack the defensive solidity to keep things tight here. Three of Colorado’s last five on the road have produced at least four goals, while the pair shared four goals when meeting at this venue just two months ago. On that occasion, 4.5 expected goals were produced, and a repeat should mean that those in attendance at BBVA Compass Stadium see a glut of goals.
This is an opportunity for both teams to get going offensively. Both have shown defensive weaknesses of late, while in their respective home away games, the pair have also shown the necessary attacking qualities to suggest that they can do the business here. After all, we saw no lack of goals when the teams locked horns on this ground back in August.