The Houston Dynamo were unable to build on their lead and ended up dropping points on the road in their 1-2 defeat to Minnesota United FC. Despite appearing to be in control of the game, big mistakes at the back and finishing troubles saw their opponents come away with three points.
Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) The Houston Dynamo were the better team in their defeat and, besides the final score, that seemed obvious. They were relentless with their offense, but especially late in the game their efforts went everywhere but in the back of the net. The Dynamo outshot the Loons 19 to 6, but struggled again to get those to get behind Minnesota goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Finishing is becoming an issue for the Dynamo even though they feature very talented attacking players. In basketball it’s said that teams that shoot a lot of three pointers live and die by the three, but our team – as it’s currently built – will live and die by the success of its offense.
2) I have to think that Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera underestimated his opponents. He made some changes to his starting XI and I tend to believe it was to give players minutes because he thought they could handle the task. Granted, he played his strongest attacking players which he assumed could handle the slower Minnesota back line which they did, but they struggled with their finishing. But starting Alejandro Fuenmayor over Adolfo Machado seemed like a move to get Fuenmayor more minutes because he definitely needs more time with his teammates and to acclimate himself to MLS. I’m in the camp that every team should try 100% and go for 3 points every game, even against weaker opponents and definitely with a club in need of points. Obviously this team was trying to go for 3 points, but this was not the strongest starting XI Wilmer could have put out there.
3) Speaking on a positive note, I loved how much this team was playing through Romell Quioto. Since returning to the starting XI, Quioto has become a focal point and he brings so much to the table. With him on one wing and Alberth Elis on the other, the field opens up and it becomes difficult for defenses to pin point how to stop us. Quioto is very intelligent with the ball and knows when to lay the ball off, when to cut in and shoot or cross, and he knows where his teammates are. His instincts help make it easy for teammates to make the easiest shot in the game which is the tap in. It also makes it tougher for teams to key in on Elis as the danger playmaker which opens up a lot on both sides of the field. Hopefully the team’s finishing problems isn’t a permanent fixture.
4) Wilmer Cabrera’s use of subs was a bit of a head scratcher to me. His first sub was Mac Steeves for Tomás Martínez. While Martínez didn’t have the best of outings, he helped connect our midfielders and our forwards. Removing him took away a lot of what made our midfield dangerous. It made Mauro Manotas drop even deeper, and replacing him for Steeves would have made a little more sense in my mind. He then took off Elis and Quioto late and Quioto had been by far the best player on the field. It just seemed like poor moves to remove two of your best attacking players when your team needs goals.