2018 Key Transfers: Orlando City

With the 2018 MLS season drawing ever closer, we have been running through the standout transfers for all 23 teams over the course of the winter transfer window. There have been a number of key signings and significant trades which should ensure the new season is as exciting as ever before. Today we take a look at Orlando City and their key signings ahead of the 2018 MLS season…

To say it’s been a busy winter at Orlando City would be an understatement. The club have been one of the busiest in MLS since their 2017 campaign came to an end. Plenty have gone, and plenty more have come in as the Lions prepare for a new-look team this season. The outcome appears to be positive. Jason Kreis has revamped his midfield. They started last season with six wins from seven but then completely dropped off, eventually finishing 10th in the East with 39 points. They need to be more consistent and will hope their new-look squad can fire them into the playoffs for the first time. This will be their fourth MLS campaign, so it’s time to start delivering.

Key Signings

Sacha Kljestan: The big question this winter was: ‘Who is going to replace Kaka for Orlando?’ The answer is Sacha Kljestan. The Lions made a big move for the Red Bulls star, sending Tommy Redding and Carlos Rivas the other way. In Kljestan, Orlando have acquired the league’s leading assist provider from both the 2016 and 2017 campaigns. At 32, there are some concerns about his fitness but he has played 97 regular season games over the past three seasons in New York – an average of 32 games a season. This one makes a lot of sense.

Lamine Sane: The Lions made a major move to strengthen their defence with the signing of 30-year-old Senegalese international Sane. The centre-back joins from Werder Bremen, where he scored two goals in 40 appearances. Prior to moving to Germany, he enjoyed a seven-year stay with French side Bordeaux. He will bring vital experience to Orlando and should be a great addition to the backline, so long as he can adapt quickly.

Justin Meram: The signing of Meram has to be one of the best this offseason by any MLS side. The winger is dangerous out wide or in a more central playmaking position and knows the league inside out. All seven of his professional seasons to date have been spent in Columbus but he wanted a new challenge and got his wish as Orlando made a major move for him. They sent $1.05 million in allocation money to the Crew, as well as an international roster spot. Meram has 40 goals and 35 assists in 200 league and playoff appearances and should be a really good addition.

Josue Colman: Another exciting attacking addition for Orlando comes in the form of Paraguayan winger Colman. The 19-year-old joins as a Young DP and will hope to nail down a regular starting role under Kreis in 2018. He joins the club from Cerro Porteno in Paraguay’s top flight after helping them win the Clausura title last year. He will have the right players around him to ensure he fulfils his potential in Florida.

Oriol Rosell: Orlando have signed a great accompaniment to all their attacking moves in Uri Rosell. The former Sporting Kansas City midfielder joins from Sporting CP in Portugal. A total of $400,000 was sent to FC Dallas so that Orlando could secure the No.1 spot in the league allocation order. Rosell is a tough-tackling holding midfielder, who knows the league and at 25, should be a great addition.

Notable Departures

Kaka: Undoubtedly the biggest loss for the Lions this offseason was Kaka. The Brazilian legend retired after his three-year contract with the Lions ended. He failed to lead the Lions to the playoffs as he had hoped but he was an incredibly instrumental figure in and off the pitch, helping to shape Orlando’s identity in MLS and on the world map. He was a three-time MLS All-Star and recorded 24 goals and 22 assists in 75 games.

Giles Barnes: Another attacking player to move on is Barnes. The English-born Jamaican international has joined Liga MX side Club Léon after his option was declined. He scored three goals and added two assists in 34 games last season and leaves MLS after six seasons in which he represented Houston, Vancouver and Orlando.

Antonio Nocerino: The Italian midfielder had his option declined at the end of the 2017 season after failing to ever live up to his billing. He joined from AC Milan and was expected to impress but scored just one goal in 52 games and didn’t register a single assist in two seasons.

Carlos Rivas: Rivas was sent to the Red Bulls along with Tommy Redding in exchange for Kljestan. His departure released a Designated Player slot for the Lions but his dynamic play style might be missed. He played 78 games over three seasons with Orlando, scoring eight goals and picking up 13 assists. Those numbers aren’t DP level though and that’s why he’s been allowed to move on.

Cyle Larin: Larin’s departure couldn’t have gone less smooth. The Canadian striker travelled to Turkey in January to train with Besiktas, without the consent of Orlando. He was contracted to the Lions through 2019 but decided to ignore his contract and tried to force through a move to Besiktas. He eventually got his way as Orlando accepted at least $2.3 million from the Turkish giants. But bad feelings aside, Larin led the team in goals in each of his three seasons and his presence will likely be a big miss in attack.

Advertisements

MLS Preview and Prediction: Orlando City vs Philadelphia Union

Competition: Major League Soccer – Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union
Venue: Orlando City Stadium – Saturday, March 18 – 19:30 ET (23:30 GMT) 
Match Odds: Orlando 19/20 – Draw 5/2 – Philadelphia 5/2

Match Preview

Orlando City welcome Philadelphia Union to their new home for just the second game of their campaign on Saturday evening, with the visitors still looking for their first win of 2017.

The Lions have had two weeks to prepare for this game following the postponement of last Saturday’s game at New England. That has given Jason Kreis extra time to prepare for the Union but also means that match fitness levels might be inferior to those of the Philadelphia players.

Orlando opened the season with a 1-0 victory over NYCFC to give the new Orlando City Stadium a perfect opening night. Another incredible atmosphere is expected here and the hosts will hope that can inspire them to three more points.

Embed from Getty Images

Philadelphia are still looking for their first win of the season after back-to-back draws so far. Their opening 0-0 draw at Vancouver was followed by last Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Toronto.

The Union led in that game and missed a penalty at a pivotal time but showed good spirit to earn a point after going behind in the second half. They will looking to remain unbeaten this week but will fancy their chances of getting three important points against an Eastern Conference rival.

Embed from Getty Images

Both these sides are expected to be fighting for a similar position come the end of the season, with both likely to be fighting for one of the final playoff spots in the East. It might only be Week 3 but this is an important fixture for both sets of fans.

This will be the sixth MLS clash between the two sides since Orlando entered the league two years ago. Philadelphia hold the advantage based on previous meetings, having put up a 2-1-2 record against the Lions so far.

Team News

Orlando will be without Kaka as the star man is out for at least another month with that hamstring injury sustained early in the win over NYCFC. Rafael Ramos, Tony Rocha and Kevin Alston are all ruled out with hamstring injuries too. Giles Barnes is set to start his first MLS game for Orlando in Kaka’s absence.

Embed from Getty Images

Philadelphia striker Jay Simpson scored on his home debut last week but was forced off with a rib injury just moments after heading in the opening goal. He is a doubt for Saturday’s game as a result, while the same applies to Ilsinho, Charlie Davies and Ken Tribbett. Maurice Edu and Josh Yaro are still sidelined.

Key Points

Orlando City’s form: W

Philadelphia Union’s form: D/D

Key Stat: Philadelphia have not won any of their last ten MLS games, dating back to a 2-0 home win over SKC in August.

Key Player: Giles Barnes – Barnes wasn’t set to be an automatic starter in this Orlando side following his offseason switch to Florida but has been thrust into the limelight following Kaka’s injury. He came off the bench and grabbed the assist to guide the Lions to victory two weeks ago so the hosts need him to be just as efficient in the final third here.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Orlando City 1-0 Philadelphia Union – This is likely to be a close battle between two sides that know this is a winnable fixture. Philadelphia haven’t won in ten and are unlikely to spoil Orlando’s extended home party on Saturday. The Lions defended well against NYCFC and might be able to earn a repeat result if they can create enough chances without Kaka in the team.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Vancouver Whitecaps vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer Fixture: Vancouver Whitecaps Vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: BC Place – Saturday, March 26 – 23:00 ET (03:00 GMT)

Match Odds: Vancouver Whitecaps 3/4 – Draw 13/5 – Houston Dynamo 15/4

Match Preview

Vancouver Whitecaps welcome Houston Dynamo to BC Place on Saturday night looking to get their second win of the season against their Western Conference rivals. The Dynamo will be looking to get a third victory in four matches after a fine start to the campaign.

The Whitecaps sit in unfamiliar territory in ninth place after three weeks. They will rue missed chances from their opening games, particularly in the loss to Montreal on opening weekend, and need to pick back up now.

Of the three fixtures played, Seattle Sounders would of looked, on paper at least, as the toughest   opening game but they overcame Sigi Schmid’s men by a 2-1 scoreline last week.

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps 2016

Pedro Morales netted two penalties in that victory, taking his tally to three for the season – with all goals coming from the spot.

Vancouver now have back-to-back home games and they must make them count as they try to climb the table or questions will start to be asked of their credentials.

Houston Dynamo are the league’s top scorers with eleven goals so far – the most of any MLS team after three games in history. Will Bruin is a man in form at the moment with three goals to his name and is the league’s joint top scorer.

MLS: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo Bruin

They will consider themselves unfortunate that they lost against the New York Red Bulls 4-3 last Saturday, having been 3-1 up, but they must now show their resilience by bouncing back here.

Owen Coyle will be satisfied with the start the Dynamo have made to their campaign and they could still have many more surprises up their sleeve as the season unfolds.

Team News

Vancouver Whitecaps have a few players on international duty with Marco Carducci, Kendall Waston, Tim Parker, Christian Dean, Blas Perez, Christian Bolanos and Marco Bustos all away with their national teams. A calf strain keeps Russell Teibert out of the clash.

Houston Dynamo will likely be without captain Giles Barnes, who is struggling with a hamstring injury. Cristian Maidana has a concussion ruling him out, while Tyler Deric is also out with an abdominal injury. Oscar Boniek Garcia is away on international duty as is Erick Torres.

Key Points

Vancouver Whitecaps’ form: L/L/W

Houston Dynamo’s form: W/W/L

Key Stat: Houston Dynamo have never won at BC place.

Key Player: Pedro Morales – The Vancouver captain has three goals already this season. He is a leader on the pitch and is so vital to this Whitecaps side that need to start putting wins on the board. The Chilean has plenty about his game and will want to keep up the impressive form for the Whitecaps against their Western Conference rivals.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction 

Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 Houston Dynamo – Both teams are more than capable of scoring goals, there is no doubt about it. A draw would likely be a fair result because of the international break, causing disruptions for the hosts as they have several internationals in their side. It would be seen as a good point if Dynamo get anything from it and they will expect to in what could be a tight affair.

MLS Preview and Prediction: New York Red Bulls vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo

Venue: Red Bull Arena – Saturday, March 19 – 19:00 ET (23:00 GMT) 

Match Odds: NY Red Bulls 4/6 – Draw 14/5 – Houston 4/1

Match Preview

New York Red Bulls welcome Houston Dynamo to Red Bull Arena on Saturday as they look to finally get off the mark in the 2016 Major League Soccer regular season.

The reigning Supporters’ Shield holders have endured a very tough opening two games so far this season and are yet to score a goal. They lost their opener at home against Toronto and last weekend fell to a 3-0 thumping away at Montreal.

Although it is early doors this is still a worrying factor for Jesse Marsch and he will have his side fully prepared to take on an inform Houston side. Red Bulls are currently propping up the Eastern Conference and nothing short of a win here will be good enough.

If the Red Bulls are to challenge for the Supporters’ Shield again this campaign they are going to need to be far more impressive than they have been so far. It isn’t all doom and gloom as we are still early into the new campaign but Marsch’s side cannot afford another lapsed performance here and they will already have some impatient fans heading into the tie.

Sebastian Giovinco Penalty

Houston come to Red Bull Arena in a prime position. They are unbeaten in their opening two outings and have looked impressive.

They come into the tie off the back of their amazing 5-0 demolition job over FC Dallas last weekend, a result that not only shocked fans but sent out a message to the rest of the Western Conference.

Owen Coyle will be delighted to see his side sitting third in the West but will be more than aware of how difficult this tie can be.

Dynamo have really struggled on the road in recent times in MLS and they won just twice away from home last season. Starting with an away win here would be an enormous boost.

Embed from Getty Images

Team News

New York Red Bulls have just the one injury concern heading into this tie as Damien Perrinelle remains out.

Houston Dynamo have five injury concerns. Collen Warner is out, while Tyler Deric, DaMarcus Beasley, Giles Barnes and Cristian Maidana are all doubts.

Key Points

New York Red Bulls’ form: L/L

Houston Dynamo’s form: D/W

Key Stat: New York Red Bulls are unbeaten in their last 13 home matches against Houston in all competitions.

Key Player: Sacha Klještan – The NYRB midfielder can help lead his side here after their poor start to the season. If he can get on the ball, control the game and keep things simple this weekend it will enable his teammates to regain some of their lost confidence.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Houston Dynamo – Red Bulls to continue their good run of form at home against Houston and pick up their first win of the season in a very competitive tie. Dynamo have conceded at least two in their last six away outings and that combined with their poor away form will likely cost them here, despite a good start to the campaign.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs Chicago Fire

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Friday, July 3 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST)

Match Odds: Houston Dynamo 6/5 – Draw 5/2 – Chicago Fire 11/5

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo host Eastern Conference’s basement side Chicago Fire on Friday night, looking to get their first win in three, while the hosts are looking for a first win in five.

Owen Coyle’s men have suffered back-to-back defeats away from home, suffering losses at Portland Timbers and FC Dallas both by the scoreline of 2-0 in their last two games.

Home comforts at BBVA Compass Stadium has seen Houston Dynamo pick up valuable wins over higher placed teams like New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers and also Columbus Crew, scoring eight goals in those three matches.

Embed from Getty Images

After this game they play consecutive away games again, this time in San Jose before a visit to Real Salt Lake in what are two very tough fixtures against Western rivals.

They will need Will Bruin back to his best and ready to add more goals to his impressive tally of seven for the season.

Chicago Fire are on a poor run of form with no wins in their last four matches and no wins in the seven matches the Fire have played away from Toyota Park.

Their dreadful away form needs to change. With only two points picked up on the road, it’s clear to see why they are struggling at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and Supporters’ Shield standings.

Top scorer David Accam is still set to miss out having been absent for the defeat at home to DC United last week in what is a huge worry for Frank Yallop and his side as they look to win for the first time in five attempts at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Embed from Getty Images

The last meeting between the two saw Chicago Fire run out 2-1 winners over Houston Dynamo in what was also the last game for former head coach Dominic Kinnear, while the Dynamo won the last game in Houston by a 2-0 scoreline.

Team News

Houston Dynamo will be without Rob Lovejoy (hamstring).

Chicago Fire will still be missing Shaun Maloney (bulging disc), David Accam (hamstring) and also Patrick Nyarko (knee).

Key Points

Houston Dynamo last five in MLS: L/D/W/L/L

Chicago Fire last five in MLS: W/L/L/L/L

Key Stat: Chicago Fire have not won any of their last 15 away games in MLS.

Key Player: Giles Barnes – The Englishman has hit six goals and has one assist to his name this season. Last season’s Dynamo MVP will look to a lowly Chicago Fire to continue impressing with goals and grabbing assists.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 2-0 Chicago Fire – A comfortable win for Houston as they end successive defeats with victory in front of their home fans. Chicago Fire on the other hand look to be without a win in five after this.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs New York Red Bulls

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs New York Red Bulls

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Friday, June 5 – 21:00 ET (02:00 BST – Saturday, June 6)

Match Odds: Houston 7/5 – Draw 23/10 – New York 19/10

Match Preview

Two sides desperate for points meet on Friday night as Houston Dynamo take on the New York Red Bulls at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Both teams are locked on 17 points after 13 weeks of the season, though the Dynamo have played two games more.

Houston will hope a return home will spark a first victory in three after back-to-back road trips to LA Galaxy and New York City saw Owen Coyle’s side pick up just one point.

Embed from Getty Images

They won their last home game 3-1 against the Portland Timbers and have picked up 11 of their 17 points on home soil, so will be confident of picking up a result against the Red Bulls this weekend.

Jesse Marsch will be frustrated with his side’s form in recent weeks as New York have won just once in their last seven outings.

They suffered a late defeat to the Seattle Sounders last Sunday and will need to ensure that loss doesn’t further damage morale ahead of this key clash.

The Red Bulls have only won one away game so far this season and that came in Week 3’s trip to Columbus so they will have to dig deep to win this one.

Recent history is on the visitors’ side though as the Red Bulls have not lost in their last seven league meetings with the Dynamo.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

The two met three teams in the Eastern Conference last season, with New York winning two and drawing the game in Houston 2-2. This will be the only league meeting this year though, following the Dynamo’s move to the West.

Team News

Owen Coyle’s Dynamo have very few worries heading into the game but Brad Davis is a doubt as he is suffering with a knee injury. Kofi Sarkodie and Ricardo Clark are both one booking away from suspension and need to watch their step.Will Bruin and Giles Barnes will continue in attack, with Bruin looking to score his fifth in five games after a fine run of form. Boniek Garcia and Luis Garrido are away on international duty and will not feature.

The New York Red Bulls will still be without Sal Zizzo, while Ronald Zubar is unlikely to make it as he continue his battle with a knee problem. Damien Perrinelle misses out through suspension after an accumulation of bookings, while Matt Miazga is away with the US U20’s so Marsch is short at the back again.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s last five: L/W/W/L/D

New York Red Bulls’ last five: L/W/D/L/L

Key Stat: There have been 22 goals in the last six meetings between the two sides in Houston. An average of 3.6 per game.

Key Player: Bradley Wright-Phillips – He may not have scored in his last three but BWP is the all-time scoring leader in the head-to-head series, with six regular season and seven total goals against Houston, including five in three games last season.

Photo: Denise McCooey

Photo: Denise McCooey

Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 2-2 New York Red Bulls – This looks too close to call but goals are to be expected in what should be a thriller. With both looking to get points on the board a draw is the most likely result.

MLS Preview and Prediction: LA Galaxy vs Houston Dynamo

Competition: Major League Soccer – LA Galaxy vs. Houston Dynamo 

Venue: StubHub Center – Friday, May 22nd – 22:30 ET (03:30 BST)

Match Odds: LA Galaxy 4/6 – Draw 11/4 – Houston Dynamo 4/1

Match Preview

LA Galaxy welcome Houston Dynamo to StubHub Center on Friday night in a game which is a must win for Bruce Arena’s side.

The Galaxy haven’t won in their last five games and have lost their last two on the bounce. Last weekend’s 4-0 defeat to Orlando City was an awful result and they need a positive reaction here.

Arena has an injury crisis with eight players who could miss out. They have a chance to turn their problems around with two home games on the bounce now. Galaxy need to turn their fortunes around as they cannot afford to go into the game against New England Revolution without picking up any points.

Embed from Getty Images

LA are missing Robbie Keane, not just for his goals, but his leadership qualities. His absence is affecting the performances of Gyasi Zardes, who has just two goals this season.

Houston Dynamo have just started to hit form, winning their last two in a row. Owen Coyle will feel his side have a good chance of getting something from this game given Galaxy’s recent form, but the hosts haven’t been beaten in their last 24 games at StubHub.

This is the first of two away games in a row for the Dynamo, who have only lost once on the road this season. The game has added incentive for these two sides as they are separated by just two points in the Western Conference.

Embed from Getty Images

Will Bruin has three goals in his last two games, including two in last weekends 3-1 win over Portland Timbers, and he will want to prove his form is not just a purple patch and he can send out message if he can help his side win this tie against the reigning champions.

Team News

LA Galaxy have eight injury concerns to Brian Perk, Robbie Keane, Edson Buddle, Todd Dunivant, Jose Villarreal, Kenney Walker, Robbie Rogers and Omar Gonzalez, leaving Arena scratching his head at fielding a side. Keane has been a big miss and has played just four games. The sooner he returns the better for Galaxy.

By stark contrast, Houston Dynamo have just one injury to deal with Nathan Sturgis set to miss out for Coyle’s side. Ricardo Clark and Kofi Sarkodie are just one yellow card away from a suspension so will need to be weary of their approach.

Key Points

LA Galaxy’s last five: D/D/D/W/W

Houston Dynamo last five: D/L/L/W/W

Key Stat: Galaxy haven’t beaten Dynamo in their last three attempts and every passing game without a win now for Arena’s side becomes a bigger problem.

Key Player: Giles Barnes – The forward has six goals in 11 appearances so far this season and his partnership with Bruin is what Dynamo have to thank for being in a playoff spot at this stage.

Embed from Getty Images
Score Prediction

LA Galaxy 1-1 Houston Dynamo – A cagey affair in this one is expected with a rusty Galaxy side desperate for a win as they cannot afford to lose. Dynamo need to take points from their upcoming two away games and a point would be respectable here.

STATS: Who is the most prolific striker in MLS?

With the 2015 MLS season well underway, it’s a great time to look at the top goalscorers in the league and just how prolific they really are.

Using statistics from Squawka, we take a look at the strikers who have scored five or more goals so far this term, and how their conversion rates compare:

Striker Goals Scored Total Shots Conversion Rate (%)
Clint Dempsey 7 18 39
Kei Kamara 7 43 16
Obafemi Martins 6 16 38
Octavio Rivero 6 43 14
Chris Wondolowski 6 34 18
Giles Barnes 6 38 16
Bradley Wright-Phillips 5 31 16
Jozy Altidore 5 16 31
Blas Perez 5 13 38

According to the statistics above, Clint Dempsey is the most prolific striker out of the pack as he has a conversion rate 39%.

There is a clear advantage with the Seattle Sounders going forward as both their forwards register conversion rates over 35% – further proof that Obafemi Martins and Clint Dempsey are an incredible strike force.

However, notice must be taken of how prolific Blas Perez has been for FC Dallas (38% conversion rate) as has Jozy Altidore on his return to MLS (31% conversion rate).

Who do you think has been the best striker in MLS this season?

MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs San Jose Earthquakes

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. San Jose Earthquakes

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Tuesday, May 5th – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)

Match Odds: Houston 6/5 – Draw 11/5 – 23/10

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo take on San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday night in the first of this week’s MLS fixtures as Dominic Kinnear returns to Houston for the first time since leaving at the end of last season.

The Quakes head coach spent nine years with the Dynamo and will return to BBVA Compass Stadium looking for victory with his San Jose team.

Both these sides played on Friday night and will hope the four days rest won’t affect their performances in this key Western Conference battle.

Houston and San Jose are two of four teams tied on ten points in the Western and need to start winning more games to climb the table.

Embed from Getty Images

The Dynamo have only won twice this season, both of which were at home, but they come into the game needing to desperately improve from that 4-1 home defeat at the hand of FC Dallas on Friday night.

Owen Coyle has watched his team concede eight times over the past two weeks and will be urging his players to defend better when San Jose arrive on Tuesday.

The Earthquakes drew 1-1 with Real Salt Lake away from home on Friday and Tuesday’s trip to Houston will be the club’s third straight road game.

Kinnear has only seen his side win three times this season and with one victory in five now, things need to start improving quickly.

Embed from Getty Images

San Jose last won in Houston in 2010 but Dominic Kinnear will hope that his knowledge of the Dynamo team can prove decisive as the Quakes look for all three points.

These two sides met early on in preseason as the Dynamo beat San Jose 3-2 in Arizona and we are all hoping for an equally entertaining game this time around.

Team News

Houston Dynamo have only one concern as Oscar Boniek Garcia is struggling with a knee sprain and is doubtful for the game. Giles Barnes will continue in attack after netting his fifth of the season in the defeat to Dallas on Friday.

San Jose Earthquakes will be without four players for the trip to Houston as Mark Sherrod (knee), Steven Lenhart (knee), Shaun Francis (face) and Jean-Baptiste Pierazzi (ankle) are all ruled out. Jordan Stewart is in contention to start after making the bench on Friday. Chris Wondolowski could have to play deeper again if Kinnear opts to start Innocent Emeghara as the lone striker once more.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s last five: L/W/D/D/L

San Jose Earthquakes’ last five: L/L/W/L/D

Key Stat: San Jose have failed to win in 16 of their last 17 away games in MLS.

Key Player: Giles Barnes – The English forward has five goals this season and seems to be carrying the Dynamo through some poor form. He will expect to add to his tally against a Quakes side that hasn’t kept an away clean sheet so far this campaign.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 2-2 San Jose Earthquakes – Goals are expected in this one after Houston’s recent form will leave fans dreading another four-goal defensive failure. Despite both sides’ patchy form, they should be out to win this game, though that could result in a close contest. Score draw.

MLS Preview and Prediction: Houston Dynamo vs FC Dallas

Competition: Major League Soccer – Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas

Venue: BBVA Compass Stadium – Friday, May 1st – 20:00 ET (01:00 BST – Saturday, May 2nd)

Match Odds: Houston Dynamo 6/4 – Draw 23/10 – FC Dallas 9/5

Match Preview

Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas clash in the first of three Texas derbies in this 2015 MLS season on Friday night as they begin the fight for the “El Capitan” cannon.

The Dynamo were denied a victory in the 90th minute last time out as their pulsating game at home to Sporting Kansas City ended in a 4-4 draw, leaving them fifth in the Western Conference after eight games.

Houston led the game with SKC twice but couldn’t quite get over the line to claim all three points which is something Owen Coyle will look to amend should his side take the lead over Dallas.

Embed from Getty Images

While conceding four is always disappointing, the Dynamo will also be delighted to have scored so many as it’s only the second time they’ve scored more than one in a game this season.

FC Dallas gained a valuable point in a 1-1 draw away to Colorado in their last game which will please them after they had been humiliated by the Rapids on home soil just a few weeks ago in that 4-0 defeat.

Oscar Pareja‘s side have won just one of their last five games (D2, L2) since winning their first three matches of the season, but they’re still second in the Western Conference and fourth in the Supporters’ Shield standings.

Embed from Getty Images

Dallas will take confidence from their first-half performance at home to Toronto two weeks ago where they raced into a 3-0 lead and will believe they have a strong chance of winning the game if they can replicate the same level of intensity.

The last MLS meeting between these two sides ended with a comprehensive victory for FC Dallas as they beat the Dynamo 4-1 – Dallas have in-fact won their last four against Houston in all competitions.

Team News

Houston Dynamo’s Boniek Garcia is a slight doubt after missing the SKC game with a sprained knee, while Giles Barnes will look to continue his good start to the season having already notched four goals and is leading the line well.

FC Dallas will be without striker Blas Perez through suspension after his red card against Colorado meaning that Fabian Castillo will have slightly more pressure on his shoulders to inspire the Dallas side to victory on Friday night.

Key Points

Houston Dynamo’s last five: D/L/W/D/D

FC Dallas’ last five: D/L/L/W/D

Key Stat: FC Dallas have never come from behind to beat Houston Dynamo, so if Owen Coyle’s men can get in front they will expect to go on and secure at least one point.

Key Player: Brad Davis – The midfield maestro created two goals in Houston’s 4-4 draw with SKC and he has now recorded the third highest number of assists in MLS history with 115 in total. He’s an influential player and stopping his incisive passing is always tough for opponents.

Embed from Getty Images

Score Prediction

Houston Dynamo 1-1 FC Dallas – Anything can happen in a derby match, but this should be a closely contested encounter and the two Texas giants will share the spoils.