The Houston Dynamo looked to have shaken their road slump following their win over the Chicago Fire two weeks ago at Toyota Park, but that pesky late goal by the opposition reared its head again when they visited Rio Tinto Stadium Wednesday evening. The Dynamo had given up a first half goal to Real Salt Lake, but fought back in the second half to equalize. The team seemed poised to take the draw or possibly steal a winner when the team fell asleep on a corner and let the home team keep all three points.
Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) Throughout most of the first half, Real Salt Lake looked clearly in charge of this game. The Dynamo were forced to keep Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis a little back due to RSL’s fullbacks pushing up the field, but the team also sat deeper in the midfield. Real was pressing the Dynamo midfield and defenders very high which made it difficult to even get the ball to Tomás Martínez or our forwards. This led to lots of turnovers and lots of chances for Real Salt Lake and the team may have been a little lucky to only go into halftime down one goal due to the sheer number of opportunities and good looks RSL generated in the first half. The Dynamo would begin to see more of the ball up the pitch later in the first half, but that was mostly due to RSL sitting a little deeper with their midfield and fullbacks after going up a goal.
2) We knew that injuries coming into this game would be a huge problem and with the sudden suspension to Alejandro Fuenmayor and with Adolfo Machado away on national team duty, things were quite thin along the back. Furthermore, Andrew Wenger – though in the 18 man line up – was likely not 90 minutes ready which put Wilmer Cabrera in the difficult position of starting Jared Watts at center back and Adam Lundqvist at right back. With the two getting their debuts at the same time, RSL went at these two often. Sebastían Saucedo in particular was feasting on Lundqvist playing at right back despite being left footed. This led to a lot of drives and easy cuts to set up teammates including Luis Silva for the game’s opening goal.
3) Late in the second half things began to pick up for the Dynamo as they got their equalizer and even pressed for a game winner. Then RSL scored. The goal came on a corner kick and Eric Alexander completely missed his marking assignment and let Kyle Beckerman walk in their game winner. The Dynamo have a legitimate problem conceding late goals which have left points on the table. Games against D. C. United, Minnesota United FC, the San Jose Earthquakes, the Vancouver Whitecaps, and now RSL have all seen opposing teams score after the 70th minute and have been draws or losses. The game against the LA Galaxy was nearly on that list, but we found our own late winner. They’ve got to stay sharp for 90 minutes to close games out and they can do that by staying focused defensively or by putting the game out of reach by scoring more.
4) In the second half, I think both teams fell into lulls with the home side sitting a little deeper and off the ball and with the Dynamo not finding a rhythm due to a lack of energy. RSL then had a few close calls including one off the side post of the goal and one shot that was blocked and that seemed to wake up the Dynamo. I think they responded to the possibility of going down another goal well and they channeled that into an equalizer. Even after RSL took the lead for the second time, I really liked the effort by Romell Quioto, Alberth Elis, Luis Gil, Boniek, and Alvarez. Quioto in particular had fire in him which I appreciated.