The MLS regular season is almost 2 weeks away, but that doesn’t mean the competitive matches aren’t already here for the Houston Dynamo. After winning the US Open Cup the Dynamo qualified for CONCACAF Champions League for the first time since 2013. In the first leg of the two leg series they headed to Guatemala City, Guatemala to take on C.D. Guastatoya. The Dynamo went into Estadio Doroteo Guamuch Flores and came away 1-0 winners thanks to DaMarcus Beasley.
The Houston Dynamo would have a pair of good chances early just after the 5th minute. Romell Quioto made a dangerous run down the left side and looked to be in on goal, but he was well defended with the ball going out for a corner. Following the corner, which was poorly taken, the Dynamo were able to get the ball back and send in a ball through traffic, but no one was there to get on the end of it.
Guastatoya had their first good look of the game coming in the 17th minute as a player got free on a counter attack on Houston’s left side of the field. The cross came in and met the Guastatoya player, but it was headed over the top of goal. The Dynamo had been in control of the game’s possession and had looked more dangerous getting forward, but Guastatoya had made several good tackles – along with a few hard fouls – to make it difficult for Houston to get a quality chance to score.
Romell Quioto would again find a chance to put the visitors up a goal just before the 30th minute mark. After a ball was deflected to him he tried to spin a shot far post, but it would end up being too far wide to be the opening goal. Not long after that Juan David Cabezas would try his luck with a volley from distance. The ball was well struck and hit with power, but Guastatoya goalkeeper José Calderón would make the save.
The halftime whistle would sound with both sides locked at 0. The Dynamo had been by far the better side in terms of possession and number of chances, but Guastatoya has been very tough to break down with their 5 man back line. Left back Stefano Cincotta in particular has neutralized Alberth Elis’s presence through very good tackles and vision to intercept passes.
Guastatoya started the second half a little more lively than they had the first. Their back line still sat deep, but the midfield and forwards were beginning to find more possession in the Dynamo half of the field. They had a very good chance against Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis early on, but the blast was well off target. The Dynamo were finding some more space now for their offense and tried to respond with a chance of their own. Tomás Martínez slalomed through defenders and was fouled, but Mauro Manotas elected to take a shot so the ball was not brought back for a free kick.
In the 82nd minute Marlon Hairston had the ball on the right wing and sent in a ball intended for Mauro Manotas. The ball was deflected or bounced over Manotas and his defender to Romell Quioto who tried to squeeze the ball into the net. Guastatoya goalkeeper José Calderón made a brilliant reaction save that kept things level, but the ball would go out for a corner kick. Quioto stepped up to deliver the kick which went into the box and was cleared, but not from danger. DaMarcus Beasley would get to the ball and call off help as he one timed his strike to put the visitors up 1-0.
After three minutes of stoppage time the Dynamo would walk away the 1-0 winners with an important away goal going into the next leg which they’ll host. The game was by no means perfect, but the Beasley bullet – as it shall now be known as – more than made up for rest of the game. The game was physical with Juan David Cabezas leaving with an unknown injury. The game was boring at times with Guastatoya sitting deep for the entire first half and part of the second. However the game was won by the Dynamo.
Next up for the Dynamo is Guastatoya for the second leg which will be next Tuesday, February 26th at 7:00 PM CT at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX.
84’ HOU: DaMarcus Beasley
21’ CDG: Christopher Ramírez (yellow card)
87’ CDG: Jorge Aparicio (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Joe Willis; DaMarcus Beasley, Maynor Figueroa, Kiki Struna, Chris Duvall; Juan David Cabezas (69’ Darwin Cerén), Matías Vera, Tomás Martínez (65’ Tommy McNamara) Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas, Alberth Elis (61’ Marlon Hairston)
C.D. Guastatoya (5-3-2): José Calderón, Stefano Cincotta, Wilson Pineda, José Corena, Carlos Gallardo, Omar Domínguez, Christopher Ramírez (45’ Aarón Navarro), Jorge Aparicio, José Márquez, Isaac Acuña (59’ Ángel Rodríguez), Luís Martínez (78’ Fredy Orellana)