Not good. That pretty much sums up Houston’s play against Atlanta on Saturday night. Things kicked off in Atlanta almost one hour late due to lighting and thunder in the area. Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera shook things up with his starting lineup against Atlanta choosing to start DaMarcus Beasley and Andrew Wenger up top with Mauro Manotas while Dylan Remick started at left back. Cabrera left Erick Torres and Romell Quioto on the bench.
It was all Atlanta and Miguel Almiron in the first half of the game. Almiron scored twice in the first half while Atlanta dominated time of possession. Almiron scored his first goal in the 30th minute for Atlanta. After running around several Dynamo defenders Almiron took a left-footed shot in the box that went right past goal keeper Joe Willis. Almiron double the score in the 42nd minute of the game. After getting the ball at the top of the box Almiron evaded a tackle and held on to possession of the ball. He ripped off a shot into the top corner of goal putting Atlanta up 2-0.
Houston’s struggles continued into the second half. The defense struggled to contain the Atlanta attack. Houston began to sub in attacking players as they looked to close the scoring gap. Unfortunately, weakening the defense didn’t do much to help Houston’s case. Multiple times on the night the Dynamo failed to clear the ball away from goal allowing Atlanta repeated chances to keep their plays alive. During yet another display of failing to clear the ball Julian Gressel was able to get back on the ball with an easy finish past a slow Willis to put his team up 3-0.
Atlanta got their fourth goal thanks to a soft PK call against Machado shortly after the goal from Gressel. Almiron stepped up to take the kick and Willis went the wrong way letting Almiron score his third goal of the night. Houston scored on a penalty kick after Jeff Larentowicz was called for a handball. Torres took the penalty kick and scored to make the score 4-1 late in the game.
Atlanta head coach Tata Martino was thrown out early in the second half of the game. After the ball went out of bounds and Tata kicked the ball back on the field and the referee threw him out of the game.
To say Houston struggled with possession would under sell their struggles. They managed to hang on to the ball for just 37% of the game.
Atlanta had seven shots in the first half with another five in the second half. Houston by contrast had just four shots in the first half and six in the second half. Each side had five shots on target.
The Dynamo have not won (or tied) a road game this season. Houston are on the road yet against next weekend to face in-state rival FC Dallas.
69' SUB: Erick Torres enters in place of Alex, Dynamo still looking for a goal. #ATLvHOU— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) May 21, 2017
75' SUB: Ricardo Clark replaces Andrew Wenger. #ATLvHOU— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) May 21, 2017