Three Points: Houston Dynamo FC Open MLS Regular Season against San Jose Earthquakes
HOUSTON - The 2021 Major League Soccer regular season begins at BBVA Stadium on Friday as the Houston Dynamo Football Club host the San Jose Earthquakes at 7 p.m. CT.
Friday's match sold out earlier this week and the first 6,000 fans through the gates will receive a free Dynamo bandana, courtesy of BBVA. Capacity for Friday's game is limited to 30 percent, or approximately 6,500 seats at BBVA Stadium.
The Dynamo enter Welcome Back to BBVA Stadium Night with an 8-2-5 record at home and a 6-1-2 mark at BBVA Stadium to open the year. The Dynamo opened the 2020 regular season with a 1-1 draw against the LA Galaxy on Feb. 29, the last full-capacity match held in Houston prior to MLS suspending the regular season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the field, the Dynamo return under the leadership of head coach Tab Ramos who enters his second season with the team. The offseason included the addition of eight new players for the 2021 season beginning with the transfer of Fafa Picault from FC Dallas. Houston edged past Austin FC to acquire midfielder Joe Corona prior to the end of 2020. Houston opened 2021 with the addition of more offensive firepower by signing winger Tyler Pasher and trading for Maxi Urruti.
Houston also addressed the backline when the team traded for Tim Parker and added more defensive depth by drafting Ethan Bartlow in the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. Houston also navigated a trade on Draft Day to acquire midfielder Derrick Jones from Nashville and added Kyle Morton to the goalkeeping core.
San Jose are led by Matias Almeyda who returns for his third season with the Earthquakes. Friday's game will offer fans a unique mix of schemes as the Earthquakes visit Houston with a man-marking system and the Dynamo look to press San Jose at home. San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski will look for service from one of the most dynamic midfields in MLS, which feature Cristian Espinoza, Eric Remedi and U.S. U-23 captain Jackson Yueill.
San Jose also features a trio of former Chivas de Guadalajara players who look to replicate past success under Almeyda. Carlos Fierro made the move from Mexico to MLS in 2019 and finished with three goals and two assists in his first full season with the Earthquakes. Oswaldo Alanis joined San Jose in 2020 and scored a memorable free kick in his debut to earn a point against Toronto FC. The club acquired Javier Eduardo Lopez during the offseason in a loan from Guadalajara to complete the trio.
The Dynamo travel to the Pacific Northwest next week to face the Portland Timbers in their home opener. The match will kick off at 9:30 p.m. CT and fans can follow the game live on QuestTexas Ch. 55 in English and TelExitos 47.2 in Spanish.
WHO: Houston Dynamo FC vs. San Jose Earthquakes
WHEN: Friday, April 16 - 7:00 p.m. CT
TV: QuestTexas ch. 55 (Glenn Davis, Eddie Robinson, Cindy Burbano)
RADIO: Spanish: TUDN Radio Houston 1010 AM (Daniel Mejia and Lester Gretsch)
Here are three key points ahead of Friday's game:
DYNAMO LOOK TO GARCIA AND PARKER AS CAPTAINS: Midfielder Boniek Garcia returns for his 10th season with the club and the Dynamo veteran will share the captain's armband with defender Tim Parker this season. Garcia has worn the armband since the middle of the 2016 season and wore the armband for the first time on July 23, 2016 in a 0-0 draw with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Parker is one of eight new players acquired for the 2021 season and wore the armband throughout the preseason. The veteran center back was a key acquisition for the Dynamo who will send $300,000 in General Allocation Money in 2021 and $150,000 General Allocation Money in 2022 to the Red Bulls.
NEW FACES BRING WINNING PEDIGREE: Tim Parker, Fafa Picault and Maxi Urruti combine for 12 postseason campaigns since 2013 and four domestic titles. Additionally, midfielder Joe Corona has won two LigaMX titles and the veteran midfielder looks to earn his first postseason berth in MLS. That veteran leadership and winning attitude will be key for Houston, who look to return to the postseason for the first time since 2017. New in 2021, the top seven teams of each conference will qualify for the 2021 Audi MLS Cup playoffs. Additionally, qualification for the 2021 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be determined by the result of the first three match fixtures.
SAN JOSE CONTINUE TO BUILD AROUND ALMEYDA'S SYSTEM: The San Jose Earthquakes look to return to the postseason after their first-round exit in 2020. The Quakes added defender Luciano Abecasis, forward Beji Kikanovic, and midfielders Eric Remedi and Eduardo Lopez. The midfield duo of Remedi and Lopez offer a new look to San Jose who use a man-marking system that has proved successful for head coach Matias Almeyda. This is the third season on the touchline for Almeyda who won five trophies in his previous stop with Club Deportivo Guadalajara and was named the 2018 Concacaf Men's Football Coach of the Year. This offseason was one of the busiest for San Jose under Almeyda who will face Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos for the first time on Friday.
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