The Houston Dynamo fell short against the Vancouver Whitecaps in Houston’s second appearance of the season in the 1-2 defeat. Although the Dynamo knocked on the door repeatedly for an equalizer, it never opened for them.
Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) Vancouver executed their game plan well against Houston. When they took the lead, they sat deep to defend and it worked. One of the Dynamo’s most glaring struggles is how they attack teams that park the bus. The Dynamo have not shown that they can successfully break teams down to create quality chances on goal through slower build up play. They need space to run and when that space becomes congested with 9-10 other defenders they panic and try to whip in as many crosses as they can. That strategy can be effective, but Vancouver are among the best at clearing crosses and defending set pieces. The Dynamo were able to get several decent looks, but it was not enough and a ton of credit goes to the Whitecaps’ defense for not blinking.
2) The Dynamo did play their brand of soccer well before Kei Kamara’s penalty. They spread the field, created a few close shots on goal, and had the Dynamo been the first on the board, they may have had this game the same way they beat Atlanta in week 1. They could have made Vancouver chase the game which may have left them more exposed in the back for even more goals. Unfortunately, the Dynamo did not make the best out of their early attempts and Kamara buried his penalty to put his team in control. The Dynamo would equalize, but were left stranded on a Brek Shea counter attack. The defense must be more disciplined when tracking up the field.
3) Several players stood out with positive performances in a game with a frustrating result. Darwin Cerén led the team in tackles and passed very well, even long passes were accurate. Alberth Elis, obviously the lone Dynamo goal scorer, was active at finding ways to shoot and I think he was likely brought down in the box towards the end of the game. Andrew Wenger showed a lot of emotion and his runs and passing also created chances.
4) Hopefully, the Dynamo can grow from this game. It’s still early in the season and this loss does not spell disaster for the club just as last week’s 4-0 win over Atlanta did not guarantee success every week. The big hope is that Tomás Martínez, who also had a largely positive performance, can be instrumental in picking teams that sit back apart. That will require him to continue to develop chemistry with those around him, but also for others to learn to change gears from simply a counter attacking team.