It was tough from the beginning for the Houston Dynamo.
After Fabian Castillo broke Boniek Garcia's ankles and entered the 18-yard box just 15 seconds after kickoff in Dallas, it became clear that this could be a long night for Houston. That, unfortunately for the Dynamo, is how it turned out.
4-1 was the final score on an evening of struggles, mostly defensive, for the Orange. Save for a Ricardo Clark strike, there wasn't much to like from the Dynamo in basically a must-win match. Garcia was tormented by the Columbian for the better part of the first half before reinforcements were necessary from manager Owen Coyle in the form of Sheanon Williams at the expense of Rasheed Olabiyi.
By that time, it was already 1-0 to Dallas. Clark equalized and shot hope into the visitors in the 36th-minute, but they were unable to beat goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez before and directly after the half. The result was momentum to FC Dallas.
Two goals came in a period of three minutes, both by FCD, that shook the cross-bar and Tyler Deric at the same time, leaving the latter dumbfounded at the quality of both finishes.
David Texeira and Kellyn Acosta both hit the bar and scored between the 50th-minute and 55th-minute. Deric certainly was not kissing his goal after this one.
These propelled the hosts to victory, leaving Houston down and out in the playoff race and FC Dallas in pole position to grab home-field advantage in the postseason.
Today on Dynamo Film Session, we will look at both of the goals, starting with Texeira shot from distance.
We start with Dallas carrying the ball forward.
As you can see, the red have plenty of numbers rushing ahead on the counter. Taking advantage of this was a struggle of their's for a lot of the game.
Zach Lloyd (with ball) stops up just past the 30-yard line and surveys his options.
His best is Texeira (second from left on 30-yard line), who is just finding space in the middle. Houston have basically nobody back and covering.
Lloyd makes the correct decision and lays it off to Texeira, who takes a great first touch onto his right foot to set him up for his obvious intention: the long shot.
Now with five players back and in somewhat of a position to defend, Houston still doesn't feel the need to challenge the Uruguayan whatsoever, leaving him wide open with plenty of time.
As the forward winds up, nobody in orange is in the same county as him. Granted, they weren't necessarily expecting him to blast one from distance, but he still could have easily dribbled to a spot just outside the box and taken a shot or made an entry pass.
If Texeira had missed, his teammates would not have been happy. He had time to go buy a hot dog and come back to find the ball untouched. Easily a pass could have been made that would have freed up a teammate, especially with Castillo basically double-teamed on the other side of the field.
Texeira takes the risky shot and it pays off in a big way, hitting the bar and finding the soil just past the goal-line. Deric's outstretched finger-tips can't catch this one.
The keeper had no chance at all. Manuel Neuer, the best goalie in the world by a long-shot, wouldn't have come close. This shot is WORLD-CLASS.
What stands out here from a Dynamo standpoint is their severe lack of a number-six.
A pure defensive midfielder would have been essential in stopping this lopsided break by shutting down passing lanes. Garcia and Clark–the "2" part of the 4-2-3-1–aren't D-mids by any sense of the word.
This is a clear offseason need.
But other than that, the only analysis is that this was a magnificent goal. Plain and simple.
Two minutes later, FC Dallas scored again, this time by way of Kellyn Acosta.
We start with the ball being played out of the back. It will eventually get to midfield, where the play will really start.
Mauro Diaz gets it and winds up for a through-ball to Castillo, something he did effectively all game.
It's amazing how the Dynamo let FCD take them apart with just three quick passes down the field.
Sheanon Williams (top, in orange, 25-yard line) is caught up field and is left chasing the play. Castillo has the pace on everybody on the field at the time, so he reaches the ball with ease.
Knowing that Castillo will end up with it, other Dallas attackers race into the box, overwhelming Houston's defense. They, again, don't have the numbers to deal with Castillo and the runners at the same time.
Castillo pulls up and is ready to whip in a low cross.
Texeira is the first runner to get into the box, and manages to drag Raúl Rodríguez with him as Acosta arrives around the penalty spot without a defender marking him.
The ball comes in to Acosta, and Rodríguez is left reaching for the ball.
Multiple other times throughout the day he was able to intercept those balls, but this time he goes to far with Texeira, letting Acosta get a great opportunity for a shot.
The one-time finish from Acosta is, of course, a good one, hitting the cross-bar and coming down inside the goal-line, leaving Deric no chance.
Rodríguez could have been better, but this was a good team goal by FC Dallas.
And an even better finish.