To get everyone ready for Atlanta United’s match against the Houston Dynamo, we spoke with Dynamo Theory’s Derek Stowers to get his take on Houston’s road form, Cubo Torres, and the main takeaways from the start of their campaign.
DSS: Is there an explanation for Houston’s poor away form compared to their home form?
DT: This is the number one question Dynamo fans have for each other and we all have our own theories as to why that may be. When asked about the difference in a press conference Coach Wilmer Cabrera replied that each game is approached the same. I find that somewhat difficult to believe. My working theory to explain the difference in form has to do with how much the team likes to attack and sit back and defend. At home, the Dynamo rarely let off the gas as they constantly want to score more and more goals regardless of the score. It’s this hunger that lets the Dynamo play to their strengths: pressing defenders up the field, counter attacking, and sacrificing possession in favor of quick attempts on goal.
However, away from BBVA Compass Stadium the team too often lacks the energy necessary to play to their strengths. They seem content to sit back and let teams attack at them and they’re too slow to spring the counter. This is just what I’ve observed, but if the Dynamo want to break their away form then they need to start playing like themselves and the brand Cabrera helped bring.
DSS: What’s changed for Cubo Torres this season? How has he managed to improve so much?
DT: The main reason Cubo has improved is Wilmer Cabrera. Cabrera coached Cubo during his breakout year at Chivas USA and so far has put a tremendous amount of faith and confidence in him by making him the focal point of this team.
Last season he didn’t look invested in playing as he jogged around when he needed to be running, his passing and shot were both off, and he was beaten out for minutes by just about every other forward. This year he looks like the player fans hoped he would be and more. He’s lost weight over the offseason and has improved nearly every facet of his game. More than that he’s scoring in a variety of ways showing he’s more than just a poacher type forward.
DSS: What are your main takeaways from the start of the season?
DT: The biggest takeaway has to be the difference in home form vs. away form as mentioned above. At home, this club is capable of beating anyone in MLS any day of the week. We are unbeatable as the style Cabrera plays with is so difficult to figure out because it’s so fast. It’s far from perfect, but with the personnel used, it has proven to be very effective. However, away from Houston this club looks in disarray.
Another takeaway is the production of our forwards and how offseason additions Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis have complemented Cubo. They bring pace and a knack for taking players on and have been able to finish chances. I don’t think there’s been a more productive front this season and giving too much attention to any one of these guys leaves another open.