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Tomás Martínez red card turning point in Houston Dynamo loss to the Philadelphia Union

The Dynamo fell at home to the Philadelphia Union 1-3 with much of the conversation centered on a questionable red card to Tomás Martínez. 

MLS: Philadelphia Union at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo looked to extend an unbeaten run that began with a 2-2 draw with LAFC July 3rd. This time they played host to the Philadelphia Union who, like the Dynamo, were looking to move up in the standings and get into a playoff position. Unfortunately they would go on to lose the match 1-3 with a lot of the conversation centered on a controversial red card to Tomás Martínez.

Despite playing several games in a short amount of time, Dynamo Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera fielded a largely first team lineup even with a trip to Portland coming this weekend. The game began similar to other recent games with the Dynamo a little sloppy out of the back, but they would turn things around in the 10th minute. Adam Lundqvist received the ball and quickly picked out Tomás Martínez. Martínez was short on room with Union players surrounding him, but he managed to lay the ball off to Mauro Manotas. Manotas played a quick 1-2 with Oscar Boniek García which put him in on goal where he calmly beat Union goalkeeper Andre Blake.

The goal gave the Dynamo some confidence and they continued to press the Philadelphia playmakers which made it difficult for them to find their attacking players like David Accam and Cory Burke. The Union would get a good chance in the 24th minute following a poor pass by Alejandro Fuenmayor at the back which was intercepted by Fabrice-Jean Picault. Picault made a run towards goal, but Jared Watts was able to force Picault into a tough position which saw the shot go into the side netting.

Houston continued to press for a second goal in the 28th minute as the ball would be crossed to Romell Quioto. Quioto showed great hold up play and patience to wait for Adam Lundqvist’s run. Quioto then played a ball to Lundqvist who put the ball across the mouth of goal towards the feet of Manotas, but it got under his feet and Blake was able to come away with it.

The Philadelphia Union equalized in the 34th minute thanks to Alejandro Bedoya. The Dynamo left playmaker Borek Dockal open which forced defenders to step up which left Bedoya open. Dockal played a through ball to Bedoya who beat Joe Willis. Houston fans wanted a VAR check for Bedoya possibly being in an offside position, but the goal would stand without a check.

The halftime whistle would blow with the two sides locked at a goal apiece, but the Dynamo have to be a little disappointed to not have gotten a second goal and for giving up a goal on their end. For most of the half the Dynamo looked the better side as they pressed well and moved the ball quickly to generate chances, but at times the defense switched off giving opportunities and a goal to the visiting Union.

The Dynamo wasted no time trying to get on the board in the second half. Tomás Martínez received the ball above the 18 yard box and unleashed a brilliant ball towards goal, but it struck the top of the crossbar keeping the game level. They were back at it a few minutes later in the 53rd minute on a counter attack. Tomás Martínez again being involved as he received the ball with a lot of space and he picked out Alberth Elis perfectly, but Elis’s touch took him too close to Andre Blake who was able to keep the ball out of the net.

Despite having a good evening, Tomás Martínez was sent off in the 59th minute for a tackle in Philadelphia’s 6 yard box. It was called a foul, but young referee Joseph Dickerson checked VAR and decided to show Martínez a red card. Martínez was going for the ball and stepped on a player which didn’t seem to warrant a card, but Dickerson thought otherwise.

Things would get worse for the Dynamo as the Union would get their second goal of the game. Borek Dockal, again providing the service, picked out Cory Burke who slipped behind the Dynamo backline and put the ball through Joe Willis’s legs and into the net. The goal again was very close to being offside, but it was not looked at.

As the game progressed, Philadelphia took more control of the momentum. Tomás Martínez not being able to pull the strings and the Dynamo obviously being down a player hurt their ability to build up play.

Darwin Cerén was shown a yellow card in the 2nd minute of stoppage time which makes him ineligible for the next match due to yellow card accumulation. In the 5th minute of stoppage time the Union were awarded a penalty. Fabian Herbers made a run down the spine of the Houston defense and Alejandro Fuenmayor knocked him down. Fuenmayor was shown a yellow card and will also miss the next game due to yellow card accumulation. Fabrice-Jean Picault stepped up to the penalty spot and was able to beat Joe Willis making the game 3-1 in the Union’s advantage.

The final whistle would blow and the visiting Philadelphia Union would walk away with all three points. The Dynamo and the Dynamo fans have to feel let down by some questionable refereeing decisions, notably the sending off of Tomás Martínez which was a turning point in the game. Had the Dynamo had capitalized on one or two more of the many chances they had on goal that red card’s impact would not be felt as much as it was, but the red card considerably shaped how the Dynamo played out the rest of the match.

The Dynamo next play this Saturday July 28th against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park at 10 PM CT.


10’ HOU: Mauro Manotas (assisted by Oscar Boniek García)

34’ PHI: Alejandro Bedoya (assisted by Borek Dockal)

70’ PHI: Cory Burke (assisted by Borek Dockal)

90’+6’ PHI: Fabrice-Jean Picault (penalty kick)


45’+1’ PHI: Keegan Rosenberry (yellow card)

53’ PHI: Mark McKenzie (yellow card)

59’ HOU: Tomás Martínez (red card)

65’ PHI: C.J. Sapong (yellow card)

90’+2’ HOU: Darwin Cerén (yellow card)

90’+5’ HOU: Alejandro Fuenmayor (yellow card)


Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Joe Willis; Adam Lundqvist, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Jared Watts (74’ Andrew Wenger), Adolfo Machado; Darwin Cerén, Tomás Martínez, Oscar Boniek García; Romell Quioto (81’ Arturo Álvarez), Mauro Manotas, Alberth Elis (76’ Memo Rodríguez)

Philadelphia Union (4-2-3-1): Andre Blake; Raymon Gaddis, Auston Trusty, Mark McKenzie, Keegan Rosenberry; Alejandro Bedoya, Haris Medunjanin; Fabrice-Jean Picault, Borek Dockal (88’ Warren Creavalle), David Accam (56’ C.J. Sapong); Cory Burke (71’ Fabian Herbers)