The Houston Dynamo continued their unbeaten run to start out the 2019 MLS season with Alberth Elis and Tomás Martínez getting on the score sheet against the visiting San Jose Earthquakes to help secure 3 points. The Dynamo looked very in charge of this game despite some good looks on goal from the visitors.
Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) The Dynamo are unbeaten to start this season securing 13 points out of a possible 15 in the first 5 games of the year. Being fair, Houston has had a relatively light schedule with 4 of the 5 games being played at BBVA Compass Stadium and the road fixture was played against a struggling Colorado Rapids side. Still, they’re finding ways to win and they’re doing it without several key contributors such as Juan David Cabezas, Romell Quioto, and DaMarcus Beasley. That really highlights some of the offseason moves the club has made such as picking up Matías Vera along with Marlon Hairston and trusting guys like Adam Lundqvist and Memo Rodríguez to step up. This is a talented and deep team and we’ll get a good look at just how far they’ve come since last season when they visit the LA Galaxy this Friday.
2) One of the big problems the Dynamo have had in the Cabrera era has been defensive consistency, but it looks like we’re finally seeing our starting back line which is developing more chemistry by the day. That was an issue last season as we shuffled around center backs and tried different experiments at right back because of injuries and call-ups. Yes, this is a club still looking for its first clean sheet of 2019, but they are among the top teams in terms of goals allowed. Offseason acquisitions Kiki Struna and Maynor Figueroa have both helped provide stability to the back four along with a healthy A.J. DeLaGarza. Struna has shown to be adept at positioning in the air and can move through the back to help distribute and start offensive runs. Figueroa’s experience and toughness also shine through along with the ability to play long balls from the back which has helped fine Elis and others on the break. Cabezas, who did see some minutes against the Earthquakes, will provide even more stability in the near future.
3) Once again, Alberth Elis is just too much for opponents. Check out Dustyn Richardson’s excellent breakdown of Elis’s goal in his Anatomy of a Goal piece for a detailed look at the run and finish. Elis with space in front of him is just lethal for teams and the chemistry he has with Mauro Manotas and the other forwards adds even more firepower to our offense. Over the last three games, Elis has 3 goals and 3 assists. His speed, vision, and willingness to take players on the dribble or play quick 1-2 passes inside the 18 yard box are just too much and that was on display against San Jose.
4) To credit the Earthquakes, they kept things relatively close. They dominated possession, were close to Houston in shots and shots on goal, and kept the game competitive by finishing within a goal of a draw. However, this game could have opened up for the Dynamo had they finished their chances. A missed penalty, some efforts off the crossbar, and some other quality shots kept things a little too close for comfort at times.