MLS Preview: Coyle backs Dynamo to make impact
Houston Dynamo are not capable of competing financially with some of the better-funded teams in the MLS but coach Owen Coyle feels the two-time champions can make an impact in 2015.
Dynamo travel to Los Angeles to play reigning MLS Cup champions the Galaxy in their Western Conference clash on Saturday, having collected three points from two fixtures under new boss Coyle, who replaced Dominic Kinnear in December.
The Houston franchise won back-to-back MLS Cup titles in 2006-07 but face an uphill task trying to add to that tally of silverware, with the Galaxy, Seattle Sounders, New York City and Orlando City spending big.
However, Coyle is no stranger to being the underdog, having managed Burnley, Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic in England and the Scot believes Dynamo have what it takes to make a splash this season.
"Throughout my career, I have tended to be associated with teams that were being asked to punch above their weight and I feel that is what we need to do here. It's a challenge I relish," Coyle told ESPN FC.
"The players here have embraced what we are telling them and I believe that we can have a good season, wherever that may take us."
Bruce Arena's Galaxy salvaged a dramatic 2-2 draw at Portland Timbers last time out via Alan Gordon's 90th-minute equaliser.
That result was Portland's second draw of the season, though they can post their first win at struggling Sporting Kansas City on Saturday.
FC Dallas have the opportunity to maintain their 100 per cent record when they meet Philadelphia Union on the road.
Dallas are the only team in the league to have won both of their opening matches after last week's comprehensive 3-1 victory over Sporting KC.
Forward Blas Perez was at his brilliant best against Sporting KC, netting twice to take his tally to three goals in two games.
"I may have three goals in two games but I always try and look at the team as a whole," Perez said after the win. "The goals are because of the collective work of the team."
Eastern Conference high-flyers and expansion clubs New York City and Orlando City are both in action on Saturday.
First-placed New York City (+3) - level on four points with Orlando (+2) - are on the road at Colorado Rapids.
Jason Kreis' New York City have hit the ground running in the MLS as proved by their home opener at Yankee Stadium, which saw the club generate the highest amount of merchandise sales in the league's 20-year history.
Orlando have also enjoyed a successful start to life the MLS as they prepare to host Vancouver Whitecaps.
Saturday's only other fixture sees Eastern Conference strugglers New England Revolution and Montreal Impact do battle at Gillette Stadium.
On Sunday, New York Red Bulls entertain DC United, while San Jose Earthquakes go head-to-head with Chicago Fire.