Houston are coached by Glasgow-born American Dominic Kinnear and another Glaswegian, former Scotland youth international Adam Moffat, features in central midfield for the Dynamo.
Kinnear handed Moffat his chance after his attempt to resurrect his career in the US had stumbled.
"He's not afraid to tackle and that was something we lacked and needed," Kinnear said. "He's scored some wonderful goals for us - he's consistent and reliable. I think we needed a little bit of toughness in the midfield and he's provided that and played better than we expected."
Moffat was a highly rated young player in Scotland but never managed to translate his talent into top-flight performance.
"It’s tough. From the age of 13, I represented my country up to Under-19 level, so I always had a bright future," Moffat said. "Then it got to the stage where I was trying to break into the first team, at Ross County in the Scottish first division, and it never really worked out for me.
"I always had the potential, sometimes someone, maybe a coach, doesn't like you, but for me I was fortunate to get a second chance and it was over in the US"
Moffat's American adventure began with a far from glamorous and short-lived stint with the second tier Cleveland City Stars, who he joined from Elgin City.
"It was a good opportunity for me, I was just enjoying it. I was playing in the third division in Scotland and it wasn't really where I wanted to be. With Cleveland I took it as a vacation and I enjoyed it," he said. "From there the opportunity to join MLS came my way and I took it and worked hard at it."
Still, there was more disappointment. After making just 44 appearances in four seasons with Columbus, he moved on to the Portland Timbers, where he played just four games before moving to Dynamo.
It was in Houston that he finally found a coach who could get the best out of him.
Kinnear's reputation is as a coach who has been able to get the best possible results with unheralded players and, compared to the defending champion Galaxy, modest resources.
"He's straightforward, he's not anything super-fancy, he's direct and he doesn't really complicate things," Moffat said of the coach, who left Scotland when he was three years old.
"He's had fantastic success with different players, different teams and he is passionate about what he does - he gets fired up and that transmits to the players."
The Dynamo lost 1-0 to LA in last year's MLS Cup final but Moffat believes they will be a stronger challenger this time around.
"Last year we didn't create many opportunities, we had plenty of the ball but when it came to the final third we maybe weren't as adventurous as we could have been," said Moffat.
"We feel like we have got a different look to the team, feel a little bit more dangerous and this year we have some different players and we are feeling confident."