- Dynamo are emerging as one of the West’s best
- Could a dip in form be on the horizon as Houston begins heavy road slate?
- Are the Dyanmo too reliant on their main stars?
The Houston Dynamo fell short of the MLS Cup Playoffs last season by a considerable margin. At 10-16-8, their 38 points put them 11 points back of the final playoff spot in the West.
When the curtain raised on 2019, Houston opened as strong outsiders to win MLS Cup with average odds of +5000. As the season neared, those odds had drifted out to as long as +6100.
2019 MLS Cup Odds
|Team||2019 MLS Cup Odds at Bovada|
|New York City FC||+1200|
|New York Red Bulls||+2000|
*Odds taken May 22, 2019. For a full list click the link in the table.
Despite those tempered expectations by bookmakers, the Dynamo have been one of the league’s best thus far. At 7-2-2, their 23 points puts them third in the West, while their MLS Cup odds have been slashed to an average of +1700.
Their odds were still as high as +2500 on May 1, however, going 2-1-1 since, has now placed them firmly in the discussion of contenders.
Dynamo Averaging Over Two PPG
Houston have played just 11 games this season. No other team currently seeded in a Western playoff position has played that few. In fact New York City FC in the East are the only other playoff team in the league to have played just 11. While Portland and Sporting Kansas City have each played 11 but fall below the Western playoff line.
With 23 points, that leaves them third in the West and fifth in the overall Supporter’s Shield race. However, when you consider the fewer games played, their 2.09 points per game puts them second overall to only LAFC’s 2.21.
MLS | 🇨🇴 Mauro Manotas (23) had yet another goal for the @HoustonDynamo tonight.
Consistently dangerous, look at these stats in MLS ⤵️
✅ 6 goals in 10 games this season
✅ 14 goals in last 18 games
✅ 25 goals in 43 games since the beginning of last season
Dynamo. 🙌 pic.twitter.com/xQ6phNqEgG
— Football Wonderkidz (@FootWonderkidz) May 16, 2019
Houston have been getting it done with a dominating home-field advantage where they’re an undefeated 6-0-2. Their offense has been spearheaded by Mauro Manotas (6G/4A), Memo Rodriguez (5G/2A) and Albert Elis (4G/6A).
All three rank in the top 20 of league scoring, and technically all within the top 16.
Busy Travel Schedule Upcoming
The good news is Houston’s success has come while playing some of the fewest games of any team in the league. The bad news? When those games start to get made up, they’ll be coming on the road where Houston is nowhere near as strong as they are at BBVA Compass Stadium.
In Houston’s three road games this year they have won once, while losing two. Both losses came against teams with winning records in the LA Galaxy and Seattle. They will be playing three of their next four and seven of their next ten away from home.
Houston will be playing three of their next four and seven of their next ten away from home.
I want to look at a specific stretch of ten matches beginning on Saturday, June 22 and ending on Saturday, July 27. This stretch will see Houston play ten matches (nine league and one League Cup match versus América) over 35 days.
We asked @MattDoyle76 for his personal Power Rankings Top 5.
— Extratime ⚽🗣🎙 (@Extratime) May 21, 2019
Nowhere in there will they have more than six days off between games. And that will happen just once, with them playing almost every Saturday and Wednesday during that timeframe.
Gold Cup and Summer Transfer Issues
The 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup will begin on Saturday, June 15, 2019 and with it, the likely departure of several of Houston’s key contributors.
A trio of Hondurans were chosen to their country’s preliminary roster in defender Maynor Figueroa, along with forwards Albert Elis and Romell Quioto. While midfielder Darwin Cerén was chosen by El Salvador.
Celtic are set to monitor Houston Dynamo forward Alberth Elis throughout June during Honduras' Gold Cup fixtures as they ponder whether to bid for the twenty three year old.
Turkish side Fenerbahce are also keeping tabs on Elis. pic.twitter.com/4lc0ZHLoSk
— Celtic FC Fans & News 🍀 (@Celtic1888News) May 19, 2019
Then there’s the worry of retaining their star players. While the primary transfer window is now closed, the summer window will re-open from July 7 – August 7.
Surely some offers will come in for both Elis and Manotas.
Dynamo Stock at All-Time High
In stock terms I’d say Houston is likely approaching the “overbought” territory and some pullback could be on the way.
I mentioned above the success of their leading three scorers. While that’s obviously a positive, those three account for 15 of the 18 goals Houston players have scored or 83-percent.
— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) May 20, 2019
In fact, only five players have scored this season for Houston. Those three, plus two by Tomas Martinez and one by Tommy McNamara. McNamara’s goal came just this past weekend.
Should any, or multiple of the top three miss time, (we already know Elis will), things could turn quickly in Houston.
Tommy McNamara will crack a screamer from 30 yards or risk life and limb crashing the net for a goal. Nothing in between! Congrats @Tommy_Mc15 on your first goal for @HoustonDynamo! #HOUvDC https://t.co/NUxPsOJNtj
— The Cooligans (@SoccerCooligans) May 19, 2019
You also can’t ignore the upcoming condensed and heavy road schedule the Dynamo will have to endure. Playing away from home, Houston have been flat-out terrible over the years. You have to go back to 2013 just to find a year when they hit five wins on the road and even at that they were still 5-7-5 (W/L/T).
Last year they were 2-10-5, while in 2017 they were 1-9-7. In the past five seasons from 2014-2018 they have a combined road record of 10-57-30.
In the past five seasons from 2014-2018 Houston have a combined road record of 10-57-30.
To me, LAFC still look like the clear choice to in the West and overall to win MLS Cup.
However, if Houston can retain their players and maybe add to their club this summer, I do believe they could present a good value bet. I just feel a better price could be available at some point in the coming weeks.
Let's have fun and keep it civil.