The Houston Dynamo are now unbeaten in their last six games and currently sit at the top of the Western Conference table. As of late, they’ve been performing capably on the road and have kept their unbeaten streak at home which includes their latest fixture against the San Jose Earthquakes where they were able to come away with a 3-0 win.
Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera corrected some of his starting lineup problems from the previous match by putting in Romell Quioto, Alberth Elis, and Cubo Torres. While Cubo Torres arguably didn’t perform as well as his substitute, Mauro Manotas, Quioto and Elis’s presence was felt immediately. The two provide pace, width, and willingness to take players on the dribble – something noticeably missing from previous lineups. The Dynamo were far from perfect in this win, despite the score line, but Wilmer Cabrera’s use of substitutes was very successful and fit our style of play at home. We saw the debut of our newest designated player in Tomas Martinez, who showed very well off the bench, and Vicente Sanchez also did very well off the bench.
I think the voting of performances was fairly on point overall, although I have a few brief comments on some of the players. While Vicente Sanchez definitely showed his impact on the game being able to grab a goal and an assist against San Jose and was arguably the best player per minute throughout the game (in terms of production), I don’t think he was the best player. Tomas Martinez was rated fairly well, though within the context of other players and their scores, I thought he deserved to be a tad higher. I also want to note that, while Cubo Torres had a poor game, he scored .2 points lower than Alex last week and Alex was sent off. I think Cubo didn’t play well, but he didn’t negatively impact the game the way that Alex did by getting a second yellow. Overall, it’s hard to complain about a 3-0 win.
The Top Performers:
SUB: Vicente Sanchez, Man of the Match, (9.1) – It’s hard to argue with a player that grabs a goal and an assist as the top performer and I don’t want to take anything away from what Sanchez accomplished and demonstrated. Sanchez continues to impress me whenever he takes the pitch with his technique and passion which was on display against the Earthquakes. The top player though possibly gives him too much credit. His goal was a tap in, though he did very well to get in front of his defender, and his assist came following a lucky bounce after the keeper came out which the ball fell to Sanchez behind the keeper and he took a poor touch off the shin guard before getting it across goal to Manotas. I love what Sanchez brings off the bench though as his savvy is sometimes needed.
Alberth Elis (8.6) – Elis always brings the pace, but is underrated as a target on set pieces. His goal saw him fight through traffic to direct a ball to the perfect spot to put the Dynamo up 1-0 in the first half. Elis showed up in several ways as a creator as he played a ball to Cubo Torres before he was fouled setting up a penalty and he nearly had Mauro Manotas through later in the match. He was productive as a creator when he showcased his dribbling abilities as he nutmegged a defender before slotting a ball towards Vicente Sanchez across goal which Sanchez tapped in. Elis needs to develop a bit more chemistry with Martinez, but overall it was a very positive night for Elis who clearly enjoyed being back in the starting XI.
Juan David Cabezas (7.9) – Cabezas was one of the unsung heroes in this game so I’m very happy that he made the Top Performers list because he is very deserving. Not only was he a force on the defensive side of the ball totaling 4 tackles and 5 intercepted passes, but he only turned the ball over twice. His ability to quickly transition the ball to other midfielders or forwards is extremely useful in Wilmer Cabrera’s offense.
Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera (8.3) – I believe that Cabrera still has some work to do in terms of player management for starting lineups and substitutions, but I think the system he has built this year has largely been a massive success and it’s hard to argue given our current place in the standings. In this game he learned from some lineup mistakes and put in a very strong starting group and as the game went on he made very smart moves with his subs to maintain control over the match. Was it completely optimal in my view? No, I would have had Manotas start over Cubo and would’ve taken out Boniek (on a yellow) over Clark for Martinez, but the players still performed very well overall and responded well to his changes. Following an uninspiring road performance against Real Salt Lake that ended in a 0-0 draw, this was a bounce back win if there ever was one.
The Rest of the Starters:
GK: Tyler Deric (6.9)
DEF: DaMarcus Beasley (7.7)
DEF: Leonardo (7.3)
DEF: Adolfo Machado (7.3)
DEF: A. J. DeLaGarza (7.4)
MID: Oscar Boniek Garcia (6.8)
MID: Ricardo Clark (7.2)
FW: Romell Quioto (7.4)
FW: Erick “Cubo” Torres (4.6)
MID: Tomas Martinez (6.7)
FW: Mauro Manotas (7.6)