The preseason and Mobile Mini Sun Cup continued on for the Houston Dynamo following their 0-0 draw to Minnesota United FC. This time they faced the Seattle Sounders and somehow came away with a 3-2 win after trailing by 2 goals for most of the game.
The Dynamo began the game lined up pretty close to what we can expect in the regular season with the top three of Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas, and Alberth Elis leading the way. The midfield also looked about right as Tomás Martínez took his usual central attacking position with Juan David Cabezas and newcomer Matías Vera behind him. Defensively DaMarcus Beasley took the captain’s armband and the left back spot with Maynor Figueroa and Kiki Struna in central defense. Chris Duvall was a surprise start over A.J. DeLaGarza at right back, but as it’s preseason this could be Wilmer Cabrera evaluating his backup with the first team.
Early into the first half the Dynamo looked pretty disciplined with their possession though lacked some of the urgency that they’ve shown in the past which is forgivable since it’s preseason. Mauro Manotas made some noise with a shot that rocketed off the crossbar and Romell Quioto made a dangerous run that nearly saw him get around the Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei. Defensively, Kiki Struna has continued to look like a quality pickup as his vision out of the back has helped him win possession and distribute accurately.
The Sounders would score the opener as the Dynamo defense looked a little too casual in the 14th minute. Victor Rodriguez nearly had the ball stolen, but it somehow stuck under his feet. He then played a ball to Nicolas Lodeiro who easily beat Joe Willis from close range.
Not long after the opener Manotas nearly headed home the equalizer, but Stefan Frei made a brilliant save to keep his side in front. Seattle answered by doubling their lead a few minutes later. Again attacking down Houston’s right side, Brad Smith would pick out Raul Ruidiaz to put the Sounders up 2-0.
Houston would try to work its way back into the game through possession and with Quioto and Alberth Elis switching positions on the field. Quioto played a beautiful ball into Manotas who chested the ball down and played it to Tomás Martínez. The effort by the number 10 was off the mark, but it was another good look by the Dynamo as they tried to get a goal back.
The halftime whistle would blow with the Sounders up 2 goals to Houston’s 0. The Sounders capitalized by attacking Chris Duvall who has been slow to get back into position on counter attacks. The Dynamo have had some chances, but have lacked some of the pace we’ve become accustomed to.
In the 49th minute the Dynamo nearly got back into the game. Following a poor touch out of the back Gustav Svensson, Elis recovered the ball and picked out Mauro Manotas who was fouled in the box resulting in a penalty for Houston. Romell Quioto stepped up to take it, but put too much power behind the effort and skied it.
Kiki Struna would be shown a rare preseason straight red card in the 64th minute. As he tried to shield a ball going out for a goal kick he raised his arm and elbow directly into a Sounder.
Awful challenge from Houston's new center-back. pic.twitter.com/mEKM8CjFVS— Sounder At Heart (@sounderatheart) February 10, 2019
Houston would get a goal back in the 70th minute following a corner kick. Alberth Elis rose up and headed the ball in front of goal and Juan David Cabezas was there to somehow push it into the goal to make it 1-2 to Seattle.
Following sweeping changes to the lineup, the Dynamo backups showed renewed energy. Marlon Hairston did a nice give and go with Adam Lundqvist and then played a great ball for Ronaldo Peña to one touch it into the goal. 2-2 in the 79th minute.
Peña would return the favor to Hairston by setting him up on the counter attack. After playing a brilliant ball, Hairston went 1v1 with the Seattle keeper and made it 3-2 just before 90 minutes.
The final whistle would blow and the Dynamo would come away with a 3-2 win. The first team lacked some energy even though they looked fairly disciplined. After making lots of changes in the 76th minute, the backups led by Marlon Hairston and Ronaldo Peña took control of the game and saw Houston through to a win.
Next up for the Dynamo is Sporting Kansas City at 5 PM Central as the final game in the Mobile Mini Sun Cup.
14’ SEA: Nicolas Lodeiro (assisted by Victor Rodriguez)
18’ SEA: Raul Ruidiaz (assisted by Brad Smith)
70’ HOU: Juan David Cabezas (assisted by Alberth Elis)
79’ HOU: Ronaldo Peña (assisted by Marlon Hairston)
88’ HOU: Marlon Hairston (assisted by Ronaldo Peña)
31’ HOU: Juan David Cabezas (yellow card)
42’ HOU: Matías Vera (yellow card)
64’ HOU: Kiki Struna (red card)
72’ SEA: Marlon Vargas (yellow card)
77’ SEA: Kyle VanAlstin (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Joe Willis; DaMarcus Beasley (76’ Adam Lundqvist), Maynor Figueroa (76’ Kevin Garcia), Kiki Struna, Chris Duvall; Juan David Cabezas (76’ Oscar Boniek García, Matías Vera (76’ Darwin Cerén), Tomás Martínez (76’ Tommy McNamara); Romell Quioto (76’ Marlon Hairston), Mauro Manotas (Ronaldo Peña), Alberth Elis (76’ Memo Rodríguez)