Three Points: Houston Dynamo FC Host Top Contender in the Western Conference on Saturday
HOUSTON - Houston Dynamo FC host Los Angeles Football Club on Saturday in the first of six nationally televised games this year. The Dynamo look to bounce back after dropping a 2-1 result on the road last weekend in Oregon to the Portland Timbers.
Forward Tyler Pasher led the charge at Providence Park and his cross late in the first half led to the equalizer. The Canadian winger is now responsible for two of the three goals scored by the Dynamo this season. Pasher will also navigate defensive responsibilities on Saturday as the Dynamo face one of the most technical and pressing teams in the league. The last line of defense falls on Marko Maric who finished with 79 saves in 2020, the most in the Western Conference. The Dynamo shot stopper is looking for his first clean sheet of the season and this will be the first of five games where the Dynamo can earn funds through the Every Save Makes a Difference program.
The Every Save Makes a Difference program is a collaboration between MLS Works, Allstate and TUDN that donates $500 to a beneficiary designated by the club for every save made during a match on TUDN or Univision. The Dynamo selected the middle schools of the Houston Independent School District as the beneficiary in 2021.
This is the first regular season road trip for the Black and Gold, who opened the regular season with a 2-0 victory over Austin FC at home and played Seattle Sounders FC to a 1-1 draw last Saturday. Mexican international Carlos Vela has only played 22 minutes this season, but the LAFC offense features an excess of firepower including Diego Rossi, Eduard Atuesta and Latif Blessing.
The Dynamo return to national television next Saturday for the first leg of the Texas Derby against FC Dallas. Houston will travel to Frisco next Saturday for the first of three road trips in May.
WHO: Houston Dynamo FC vs. Los Angeles Football Club
WHEN: Saturday, May 1 - 2:30 p.m. CT
RADIO: English: ESPN 97.5 FM (Glenn Davis and Eddie Robinson)
Spanish: TUDN Radio Houston 1010 AM (Daniel Mejia and Lester Gretsch)
Here are three key points ahead of Saturday's game:
BONIEK GARCIA ON THE VERGE OF MILESTONE: Midfielder Boniek Garcia currently sits at 249 games played for the Dynamo across all competitions and could reach 250 appearances for the club on Saturday. The Dynamo captain was signed as a Designated Player in 2012 and made his debut on June 30, 2012 in a Dynamo 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Union. Garcia led the Dynamo to the Eastern Conference title that season and a trip to the 2012 MLS Cup final. Six years later the Dynamo and Garcia claimed the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for the first time in Club history. El Presidente is now in his 10th season with the Club and began the year in a new position after injuries hit the backline. Garcia made his debut at center back in Houston's 2-1 victory over San Jose on opening day and earned MLSSoccer.com Team of the Week honors. Off the field, Dynamo captain has been a staple in the community both in Houston and in his native Honduras. Garcia could often be seen at community events prior to the pandemic and worked with Dynamo Charities to donate soccer equipment in Honduras.
GOALKEEPERS ON NATIONAL SPOTLIGHT: Goalkeepers Marko Maric and Pablo Sisniega will duel on the field for more than points on Saturday as both goalkeepers begin their campaign to raise funds through the Every Save Makes a Difference program. The program donates $500 to each club for every save made on a TUDN or Univision telecast, and Saturday's game is the first of five for the Dynamo in 2021. Maric finished with 79 saves in his first season in-goal for the Dynamo in an abbreviated season, the second most in MLS. The Dynamo raised $8,500 through the program in 2020 and with additional contributions from Dynamo Charities the Club donated more than $19,000 in equipment to the Boys and Girls Club of Houston, Austin High School and Yates High School in 2020.
HOUSTON LOOKS FOR FIRST REGULAR SEASON VICTORY IN ALL-TIME SERIES: Houston is also aiming for its first regular season victory in the series with LAFC. The Dynamo's lone triumph in the all-time series was in the semifinals of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup semifinal that was decided by a penalty kick shootout. The Dynamo and LAFC played to a thrilling 3-3 draw at the MLS is Back Tournament last July and Houston fell 2-1 to Los Angeles in the rematch last October.
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