THREE POINTS: Houston Dynamo FC return to BBVA Stadium after two-game road trip

NEED TO KNOW:

 

Five international players return from Gold Cup duty

 

Corey Baird joins Dynamo after trade with LAFC and will be eligible to play this evening

 

Dynamo begin two-game road trip on Wednesday in Austin

 

HOUSTON – ­­Houston Dynamo FC return to BBVA Stadium this evening to host Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. CT. The Dynamo returned from the international break with two draws away from home, beginning with a scoreless draw in Utah against the Vancouver Whitecaps and a 1-1 draw in California against the San Jose Earthquakes last Saturday.

 

Dynamo midfielder Matias Vera scored his second goal of the season and played a large role defensively to earn a split of the points in San Jose. The midfielder led the team in blocks with two and finished with eight recoveries and two interceptions. Houston will look for additional options in the attacking third due to the suspension of forward Fafa Picault due to yellow card accumulation. The forward received a caution last Saturday in San Jose and will not be available for selection this weekend.

 

Reinforcements will be available for head coach Tab Ramos with the return of five international players who represented their country at the 2021 Gold Cup. The Dynamo will also welcome Corey Baird, who was acquired in a trade with Los Angeles FC on Friday morning. The Escondido, Calif. native joins the Dynamo after scoring three goals and finishing with two assists in 14 appearances for LAFC this season in nine starts. The 25-year-old has earned four caps with the U.S. Men’s National Team and tallied an assist in his debut, a 3-0 victory over Panama on Jan. 28, 2019.

 

Houston hosts a Salt Lake team that has won two of their last four games. The Dynamo backline will be tasked with containing one of the most potent attacking teams in the Western Conference. Salt Lake has scored 24 goals this season, the third highest mark in the conference. Damir Kreilach has contributed to half of the goals scored with five assists and seven goals. The Dynamo will also have to track Rubio Rubin and Albert Rusnak who combine for eight goals.

 

Here are three key points ahead of today’s game:

 

FAMILIAR FACES RETURN TO DYNAMO: Five Dynamo players return to Houston after representing their national team at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup. Darwin Ceren and Ari Lassiter reported to training on Tuesday after reaching the knockout round. Boniek Garcia and Maynor Figueroa returned to Houston after leading Honduras to the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Tyler Pasher returns to the Dynamo after earning his first international cap with Canada and reaching the semifinals of the tournament.

 

BAIRD JOINS DYNAMO HOURS AFTER TRADE: Corey Baird was traded to the Dynamo on Friday morning and the four-year veteran landed in Houston last evening. The 25-year-old will be eligible to play tonight and his last start was on July 3 in LAFC’s 1-0 victory over Real Salt Lake. The forward scored three goals and tallied two assists for LAFC this season prior to Friday’s trade. Baird’s last goal for LAFC came against New York City FC on May 29 and he also found the back of the net against the Dynamo and Austin FC in the opening game of the season.

 

SALT LAKE LOOKS FOR BUFFER: Salt Lake currently sit seventh in the Western Conference standings and enter tonight’s game with two victories in their last four games. Salt Lake begin a three-game road trip today and will look for a share of the points tonight, on Wednesday against the LA Galaxy or next Saturday at Providence Park against the Portland Timbers. The backline is anchored by U.S. Men’s National Team goalkeeper David Ochoa who enters the game with three clean sheets and 38 saves this season. Offensively, forward Bobby Wood recently scored his first goal for the club in their 3-0 victory over Colorado on Saturday.