The Houston Dynamo have now dropped three games in a row with their last win dating back exactly a month ago when the Dynamo were able to beat Minnesota United FC 3-0. Things have not exactly been easy with injuries to key players and a full schedule of games thanks to the team’s success in the US Open Cup. Against Sporting Kansas City the team saw three red cards shown and six yellow cards shown. Some of those cards shown were warranted and others are debatable. The team did not do itself any favors as poor finishing and even poorer judgment aided rivals SKC to a 0-1 win over Houston at home.
Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) Many fans expressed their frustration with the officiating last Saturday night. Wilmer Cabrera apparently did as well in the tunnel at halftime which saw him thrown out of the game. The Dynamo have been on the wrong end of calls lately notably against the Philadelphia Union a week ago where Tomás Martínez was shown a straight red card which was appealed and rescinded later in the week. I know officiating isn’t perfect and VAR is only as successful as the referee that’s handling it. I simply want consistency in the calls. If a referee calls a push in the back on one end then that needs to go the other way and I did not see that from Chris Penso. He tried to keep the game from getting physical, but he failed to do so. The Dynamo players were certainly not all innocent and at times behaved very poorly. I can’t blame everything on the officiating because the Dynamo played their role in the calls and couldn’t find the net after some good chances, but to say that the officiating did not play a part in this game would be naïve.
2) Despite going down to 10 men in just the 14th minute after Alejandro Fuenmayor’s red card, the Dynamo showed resiliency and continued to push for a goal. I think that Kansas City showed perhaps too much patience with a man advantage as they tried to pick their moments to counter attack, but Houston showed their ability to press and find their wide players Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis. There were several very good chances the Dynamo had to score, but they couldn’t. It was either a bad touch towards SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia or too many dribbles or a shot off target. SKC would get their moment in the 74th minute which got the away side 3 points on the road.
3) There has been a lot of fallout after this game, and it isn’t all because of how ugly a game this was, but rather it was a tipping point for many fans. I’ve seen fans become disenchanted with the team, the ownership, the front office, and refereeing in this league. Many have felt this way for a long time, but others have recently become fed up with the team’s performance. As mentioned above, injuries to key players like Juan David Cabezas, last year’s team MVP, and others during a very busy stretch of schedule have influenced some of the results for the Dynamo. Still, following a fantastic playoff run last season, the team still struggles to score goals on the road, they concede goals late in games to change results, and now they’re getting a bad reputation with referees (whether that’s fair or not is up to debate). I think we have to ask ourselves what it means to be Forever Orange. To many that means sticking with the club through thick and thin, but to others it might mean taking some distance. But, the one thing I’ll ask fans to do is to not throw things on the pitch at officials or other players. It’s disgusting and you might hurt someone, either the intended target or possibly one of the ball kids on the sideline. Don’t do it.
4) The Dynamo face a difficult stretch and it is completely possible that they will miss out on the playoffs following their run to the Western Conference Finals. The phrase I’ve heard now is “US Open Cup or bust”. So would a USOC trophy redeem the season? What about a runner-up position? I don’t know because prioritizing the US Open Cup is uncharted territory for me so I’m curious what everyone else thinks.