Well, that was painful to watch. The Houston Dynamo bowed out (rather embarrassingly) from the 2013 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tonight with a 3-0 loss to in-state rival FC Dallas. Yep, if you missed the game, that scoreline is not a typo.
While Dallas fielded their normal starters for the match, Dominic Kinnear fielded a mix of starters and reserves looking for a result. While the lineup appeared competitive to me prior to the match, it was clear nothing less than an all out effort with starters would do the trick for Houston.
Kinnear lined his players up in a 4-3-3, relying on Andrew Driver, Will Bruin, and rookie Jason Johnson as his offensive weapons. He also had Alex Dixon in front of Warren Creavalle and Luiz Camargo in midfield to add some creativity, but nothing worked in the end.
Kenny Cooper, who is consistently a Dynamo killer, scored two goals for the Hoops, while Zach Lloyd added the third.
What was concerning was Houston's continued issues with defending on set pieces once again. It seems the Dynamo's most potent offensive weapon has also become their primary defensive concern. Not only that, in two matches against Dallas this year, the orange has leaked six goals (while only scoring two).
With the loss, the Dynamo are out of the U.S. Open Cup and FC Dallas will continue on to the quarterfinals.
The positives to take from the match really all boil down to the gameday roster. While the starters were mixed with regulars and reserves, several Dynamo players who have been struggling with injuries were back and available for selection.
Omar Cummings got to see some minutes towards the end of the match after he struggled with recovering from knee surgery in the preseason. Cam Weaver also came off the bench after spending some time on the injury report, and Giles Barnes was available. Finally, Jermaine Taylor whose injury caused him to miss Jamaica's recent World Cup qualifiers, was also available for selection.
Next up for the Dynamo is a tough road test against Montreal on Wednesday. The Impact are first in the Eastern Conference with 26 points and haven't lost at home this year. In six matches at Stade Saputo, the Impact have won five.
It's safe to say the players returning from injury will provide a much needed boost to Houston ahead of the clash with first place Montreal.
Give us your thoughts on the Open Cup match. Does the result matter to you? Did the starters surprise you? Sound off Dynamo fans.