Crew know what tactics to expect from Houston

Despite having a busy schedule, the Dynamo will be a tough test

OBETZ,
Ohio – Crew coach Robert Warzycha knows just what it's like to play three games a week.

Columbus endured a draining 0-0 tie in the heat and humidity at Houston on July 10 and then
used the same lineup for a midweek 1-0 home loss to Kansas City. Warzycha
tweaked the first XI this past Saturday vs. New York, most notably with the insertion
of forward Emilio Renteria, and the Crew responded with their most complete game
of the season in a 2-0 victory.

“It was the third game in seven days and we played the best soccer,” Warzycha said.

It’s
been almost restful in the Crew camp in the aftermath of that win because they did not have to play
a midweek game for the first time in three weeks.

“We can get our legs back
under us,” forward Jason Garey said.

That
seemingly gives the Crew the edge when Houston visit Crew Stadium on Saturday
for the Dynamo's third match since Sunday. The
Dynamo have played two SuperLiga matches at home—a 1-1 tie with Chivas USA and
Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Puebla.

“You
can’t really predict what will happen,” Warzycha said. “Sometimes when you play
every three days you get into a rhythm. It happened for us. Look at the New
York game.”

While
nobody knows how the Dynamo will feel after their strenuous schedule, it’s a sure
bet the Crew know what kind of game to expect.

“They are physically good,”
Warzycha said of Houston. “They have a lot of players 6-foot, 6-foot-1, and they like
to go on the ground. They like the challenges. They go after 50-50s like
there’s no tomorrow and they are very organized.

“They
won’t let you play,” he added. “They won’t let you get into a rhythm. Sometimes
they foul. They know how to do that because they have very good players and are
coached by a good coach.”

Houston were able to neutralize the Crew in the last meeting by slowing them down
through the midfield and not fouling in spots close to goal where Guillermo
Barros Schelotto can be lethal on set pieces.

“They do their fouling out
near midfield,” Garey said. “They don’t really allow you to get close to the
box. It’s a smart thing for them to do, but we’re real dangerous on free kicks
around the box.

“We need to do a better job
of getting loose from those markers and make a few better runs, so maybe they
have to chase us down and foul us close to the box,” he added. “We have to get
closer to the 18. We have to take it to them a little more.”

The Crew will be without suspended
right back Frankie Hejduk and injured defensive midfielder Brian Carroll, but
options abound.

Warzycha could use Jed Zayner
or center midfielder Adam Moffat for Hejduk with defender Danny O’Rourke moving
into Carroll’s spot and Eddie Gaven sliding from the right wing into the
middle. Emmanuel Ekpo might get the start at Gaven’s position.

No matter who starts,
Warzycha has one objective: “We have to play like we played against New York.

“If you look at Houston’s
games it’s not like they’re losing 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0. They don’t give up too many
goals. They have a good goalie. They have good people behind the ball. It’s
going to be very difficult to play them.”