Galaxy reveal tactical gameplan to stop Houston at Cup
CARSON, Calif. — After ousting the Eastern Conference's top seed, Sporting Kansas City, earlier this month, Houston Dynamo manager Dominic Kinnear questioned whether his team receives enough credit around the US (watch the video clip here at 2:00).
Ahead of their MLS Cup matchup against the Dynamo on Saturday (4:30 pm ET; ESPN, TeleFutura, TSN/RDS in Canada), LA Galaxy right back Sean Franklin is inclined to agree with Kinnear.
"I think so," Franklin said, when asked if the Dynamo get enough credit. "I think a lot of teams overlook them. … They’re a dangerous team. They’ve got great players.
WATCH: Dunivant, Franklin break down Dynamo
"They know how to play well and we definitely respect them but then again we don’t fear them."
The defending MLS Cup champion Galaxy may not fear the Dynamo team, but they're definitely concerned about one aspect of their game: Houston's outside midfielders.
Todd Dunivant and Franklin, the Galaxy's left and right full backs, each made unprompted references in separate interviews about the deceptive nature of the title "outside midfielder" when it comes to Houston. It's become a focus of the Galaxy's preparations for the title match.
"They almost have like four center-mids as their midfield," Dunivant said. "All their guys interchange and move everywhere and they don’t have traditional wingers. [Brad] Davis loves to tuck in and be a playmaker. [Boniek] García likes to tuck in and be a playmaker. And it makes it difficult on us in terms of when to pick them up and when to pass them on. So that’s the communication thing and something we’ve been working on for the past week."
"At times they got midfielders that play pinched in and at times they got guys out wide," commented Franklin. "It’s all about adjusting to their formation and us being sharp in our shape. I think if we do that, it gives ourselves a chance to make them turn over the ball in bad spots and eventually hopefully counterattack to a goal."
WATCH: Dynamo Thursday update
Galaxy manager Bruce Arena agreed with Dunivant that "if we’re going to be successful against Houston, we’ve got to do a good job against [Davis and García]," he said Thursday.
Although Franklin admits that the first thing that pops into his mind when he thinks about the Dynamo is "dangerous on set pieces," which he called the Texas side's bread and butter, Dunivant noted how the Dynamo team that will enter the Home Depot Center on Saturday belies the reputation built in previous seasons.
"I think it’s an evolving team. [Houston] used to be a harder team," Dunivant said. "Not to say that they're soft. But it used to be a really physical team when they had the Eddie Robinsons and those guys who are going to put a hurt on you. And it worked.
"Now they have a lot of skilled players in their midfield," continued Dunivant. "I don’t think you can pin them down as one specific thing. They’re a team that has a lot of different ways to hurt you."