In the grand scheme of the 2018 MLS season, the Houston Dynamo’s 5-1 obliteration of Toronto FC’s C+ team last Saturday won’t register much of a ripple. But it might go down as the turning point in the Dynamo’s season.
Houston had entered the week 1-2-2 on the season, having lost twice at home already. The story up to that point was simple and ongoing: They were wasting chances and struggling to put the ball in the net. Since that breakout Week 1 win against Atlanta, they were slow on the ball in the attacking third and wasted an inordinate amount of quality chances.
But TFC’s reserve-laden side presented an opportunity to break out of their funk, and the Dynamo emphatically took advantage. Romell Quioto had a goal and two assists. Alberth Elis and Mauro Manotas both scored. Houston were fast, ruthless, and didn’t bother much with possession, relying on what made them such a difficult team to beat last season. They forced turnovers high up the field, attacked viciously on the counter, and took advantage of set pieces.
It might have been one of the easiest matchups an MLS team can find — at home against an entirely rested team. But for a team struggling to find its rhythm and convert chances early in the season, that kind of game can make all the difference.
A week later, they’ll face a bit of a tougher test, albeit still a comparatively soft one. The Dynamo will head to Minnesota to face the Loons, who are leaking goals at a worse rate than last year (a high bar for futility) and have already lost two starting attackers to torn ACLs.
Minnesota are 2-5 on the year — they have yet to draw a game — and have already given up 15 goals. Their backline is slower than even the Dynamo’s, so Quioto and Elis should have some fun. Michael Boxall, Marc Burch and co. are no match for the Hondurans’ pure speed.
The Loons are better with Christian Ramirez up top as a No. 9 and fulcrum, as they showed in last week’s 3-1 loss in Seattle. At this point, though, we can’t expect Minnesota to make that kind of productive lineup change.
Darwin Quintero will be the one to watch for the hosts. He’s been electric in his first two games.
Kickoff is 7:00pm CT Saturday in Minnesota.