The Dynamo seem to be a team possessed these days; as they are now finding ways to actually win matches. Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium, the Dynamo bested the defending champion Portland Timbers 3-1, bringing their current win streak to two matches – their highest streak of the 2016 season.
The Orange were led by forward Mauro Manotas, who enjoyed his first hat-trick in MLS play. Manotas got the scoring going in the first half from the penalty spot. In the 33 minute, the Dynamo were awarded a PK when Timbers defender Liam Ridgwell blocked a shot with his hands. Manotas stepped up and converted the PK to put the Dynamo up 1-0.
"We talked about penalties before the game, and we know that Mauro was going to step up and take a penalty for us if we got one tonight," Dynamo coach Wade Barrett said after the match. "He took it with confidence."
The Timbers came out firing to start the second half, and would eventually find the equalizer in the 51st minute off of a Diego Valeri goal.
But it was Manotas again, scoring from converting a Boniek Garcia cross from 8 yards out in the 73rd minute to put the Dynamo back up by one.
Manotas would finish off the defending champs in the 85thh minute. After a Timbers' turnover, Christian Maidana found Manotas wide open, just beating the offside trap. The Colombian was left 1-v-1 with Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. Manotas was able to slip his shot under Gleeson, capping off what he said was a "dream come true."
"It's three goals that I've been searching for, three goals that I worked hard for," Manotas said. "I thank God for the opportunity to score three beautiful goals and for the team to get the victory."
The Dynamo are unbeaten in the month of September, going 2-0-1. Manotas was also involved in the Dynamo's score sheet in their 3-3 draw at Sporting Kansas City on September 9. His coming-out party may have been a surprise to people who've been attending BBVA this summer, but it was nothing unusual for Barrett.
"I've known that Mauro was capable of this," Barrett said. "I won't say the expectation is that he should score three goals every time he steps on the field – that's a tall task. But like I said, I'm not surprised that he had the chances, I'm not surprised that he scored the goals tonight."
After earning seven points against three playoff-bound clubs in the Western Conference, the Dynamo look to finish their perfect month against the top club in the East on Friday, September 30, as they host New York City FC.
"It was big for me to score three goals against the defending champions," Manotas told Dynamo Theory. "Now comes another huge test against New York [City], one of the top clubs in MLS. After today's victory, I feel very well prepared for any defense in MLS."