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Houston’s character and toughness lead to a late 2-1 win

Rodriguez and Manotas key the comeback.

MLS: Montreal Impact at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

A resurgent second half carried the Houston Dynamo to their first win of 2019. Young guns Memo Rodriguez and Mauro Manotas keyed the 2-1 win in stirring fashion over the visiting Montreal Impact. It was the club’s fourth come from behind win in its last six regular season matches dating back to 2018.

A defensive lapse just past the half hour mark put Houston in an early hole. A one time volley off an unmarked Saphir Taider’s right foot eluded a diving Joe Willis for the opening tally in the 34th minute.

“The idea is not to concede goals, we cannot concede goals,” said Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera following the match. “But we are playing against very tough opponents. The fact that we conceded a goal at home and then we came back and won the game shows the team’s mentality and character. It shows how important we are getting together as a team and it shows the effort we are trying to show on the field. That shows positive things for all of us moving forward. But yes, we would like to stop conceding goals at the beginning of any game.”

The mentality and character was never more evident then two minutes later. The Dynamo leveled the match on a strike from their homegrown midfielder Memo Rodriguez. Signed in December, 2014, the El Campo, Texas native scored his first of the season in his first start of the season and the tenth of his career.

“Memo is a Houstonian,” continued Cabrera. “Everyone loves him because he grew up in this city, in the neighborhoods around here and he is a very talented player. Now what we need from Memo is to become that type of solid player and have 90 minutes each game. Today was very good for him. He scored a good goal which is great motivation and he needs to continue to prove that he can be a starter at any time with the Houston Dynamo.”

The second half saw a much more aggressive Dynamo squad. Houston had six on target shots in the game, a sharp improvement over their last effort when they had just one shot on target. Forward Mauro Manotas had just one real opportunity and he made the most of it. With just four minutes left in regulation, second half sub Romell Quioto showed that hard work pays as off as he set up the game winner. Gathering in a deflection off his own shot, the Honduran national threaded a ball through the six yard box. Manotas in perfect position knocked it home with four minutes left in regulation. It was the Colombian striker’s 50th career goal across all competitions in just three seasons.

“Obviously that proves how important it is to have a top scorer around you,” said Cabrera in describing his young forward. “It is important for any club to have someone that you rely on to score goals. We rely on him right now to score goals. And we rely on (Dynamo MF) Memo (Rodriguez), (Dynamo MF) Marlon (Hairston), (Dynamo FW) Alberth (Elis) and (Dynamo FW) Romell (Quioto) to go at defenders, go at the defense, break them down and create problems and distractions. Because we have those guys around Mauro, it is comfortable for him to get in and score those goals. It is a team effort at the end, but we are happy and lucky that we have Mauro sharp, more mature, and learning how to position himself. It is not like he had a lot of options today, but one goal shows quality.”

Houston picks up CONCACAF Champion League play Tuesday night on the road against Tigres UNAL before resuming MLS pay next Saturday, March 16, against conference foe Vancouver.