Bill Hamid and Bobby Boswell 5-10-14
USA Today

Talking Strategy: D.C. United vs Houston Dynamo

Last match, United didn’t have the start it wanted. The persistence and mental strength of the group came through, though, finding a way to grab a point from the match.

“Energy-wise, everyone understands it wasn’t perfect,” Assistant Coach Preston Burpo said. “Everyone understands there have been a couple games we start off a little slow, and we’d like to change the mentality of that from the get-go.”

DCU will have to start off well tomorrow, facing a Houston side that is 3rd in the Eastern Conference. In his 8th year as Head Coach, Dominic Kinnear has garnered a successful style of play for the Dynamo.

“They play a style where they are very organized in the back; they have a good block of 8 defending wise,” Burpo explained. “Offensively, they usually have a big guy up top, whether it’s been Will Bruin or they brought in [Mark] Sherrod who did well. They have guys running off them, like Giles Barnes underneath.”

The Black-and-Red will be ready for lots of service into that target forward, but awareness of the runners off that service is what Burpo believes is a key to success.

“Barnes is a big deal to their team,” Burpo stated. “He’s dangerous finding second balls off service to the forward, or Bruin and Sherrod checking in and laying it off, Barnes running through. He has got a knack for finding little gaps. We have to pick him up.”

With bigger players in its line up, United will have to be prepared to defend Houston set pieces well—something center backs Bobby Boswell and Jeff Parke do very well.

“On all their wide set pieces, you have [David] Horst, Bruin, Barnes, Sherrod if he’s in there. You saw it in their last game—[Andrew] Driver comes in on the back post; they live for that stuff, and they do well with it.”

Again, with an experienced backline and midfield, United is prepared and ready for battle.

“It’s nothing our guys don’t know, we have players who are familiar. Obviously, Boswell has talked this week about what they’re about. There shouldn’t be any surprises on our end. It’s just can we make them play on our terms from the beginning and sustain that for the 90.”

Join us at RFK as the Black-and-Red battles Eastern Conference foe Houston for 90+. Get your tickets now