It's hard to explain the how behind tonight's result. In what is normally considered a stellar Dynamo backline, tonight's defensive performance proved to be the culprit to an all too familiar road loss in Mexico.
Heading into the match, the Dynamo held a narrow 1-0 aggregate lead, but three costly defensive mistakes all lead to goals for Santos who won the second leg 3-0 in front of a sold out Estadio Corona.
The Dynamo did well to get through the first 20 minutes unscathed, but the next ten minutes wouldn't be kind to the men in orange. In the 23rd minute, Warren Creavalle was whistled for a foul on Oribe Peralta in the box. Referee Enrico Wijngaarde awarded the home side a penalty kick. Creavalle was inserted in the starting lineup for Corey Ashe who was scratched late due to sickness.
Midfielder Juan Pablo Rodriguez stepped up to the spot, but Tally Hall did well to deflect to shot. Unfortunately for Hall and the Dynamo, the rebound was easily knocked in by Rodriguez for a 1-0 lead.
Just five minutes later, a completely disastrous defensive slip gave Santos a huge advantage - both on the scoreline and mentally. A ball was played way back towards the box, and instead of Bobby Boswell clearing the ball with a streaking Herculez Gomez on his back, he acted like Hall should get to it. Gomez shot it perfectly through the two Dynamo players into the side netting for a 2-0 lead.
With a 2-0 deficit, a Houston goal would have changed everything. That goal just wasn't to be.
In the 77th minute, a Santos cross found second half subsitute Marc Crosas unmarked on the far post. Crosas punished the Dynamo with a third goal and insurmountable comeback.
In the end, the stats weren't all that unkind to Houston. The Dynamo outshot Santos 13-12, but Santos had a much better performcane putting those shots on frame (9-2 on goal). Houston had more corner kicks and open play crosses, but the lack of finishing combined with the defensive mistakes doomed them.
Santos' win eliminates the Dynamo 3-1 on aggregate. Los Guerreros will move on to the semifinals to face the Seattle Sounders, who eliminated Tigres last night.
I'll leave you with our writer Richard's rant. I think he sums it up nicely.
My final word: I'm not too terribly shocked about the result. To be honest, I'm not too surprised by it.— Richard Willis (@elephande) March 14, 2013
When you play sloppy and make mistakes against a good side, they'll make you pay. That's what happened here.— Richard Willis (@elephande) March 14, 2013
It's hard enough to win in Torreón without handing the match to Santos Laguna with uncharacteristic mistakes.— Richard Willis (@elephande) March 14, 2013
My hope was that they'd go in there and give a good account of themselves. Unfortunately, that's not really the way it happened.— Richard Willis (@elephande) March 14, 2013
Save for the defensive miscues, they really didn't play all too bad. But they had little room for error, and there were many errors.— Richard Willis (@elephande) March 14, 2013
To me, the gameplan they came in with required a lot better defending then they showed.— Richard Willis (@elephande) March 14, 2013
I guess that's all I have for now. End of line. /rant— Richard Willis (@elephande) March 14, 2013
Oh, and one more thing before I forget: Props to Santos Laguna. They played their game, and did nearly everything right.— Richard Willis (@elephande) March 14, 2013
Even on a good day, that's hard to overcome. On a day like this...no chance.— Richard Willis (@elephande) March 14, 2013
Dynamo fans, what's your take on tonight's result?