The Houston Dynamo were unable to extend their unbeaten run as their biggest test of the 2019 season ended in a 1-2 loss with the Dynamo losing on the road to the LA Galaxy. Despite being a back and forth contest for most of the game, a familiar theme from last season reared its head as Houston conceded a game winner late.
Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) The number of chances each side saw could have had this game going either way. Both teams were equal or almost equal in a number of categories including shots, possession, penalties, and passing accuracy highlighting how close this game was. For Houston, they were able to find some space and link up with the forwards well, but they were always one pass away from finding the net or they had the ball caught under their feet. It demonstrated great build up, but LA made decision making difficult for the Houston attackers by getting numbers back quickly and clogging things inside the 18 yard box. There were lots of instances of counter attacking by both sides, but as things settled the Galaxy sat a little deeper and dared Houston to break them down. That was one example that led Houston’s offense to not quite fire on all cylinders, but also turnovers in the midfield helped fuel the Galaxy’s attack.
2) The Dynamo defense is still looking for its first clean sheet, but the additions of Kiki Struna and Maynor Figueroa have added experience and toughness that we didn’t see last season. They were more than capable of blocking shots and staying with an active Galaxy forward group. Figueroa in particular stood out in this game as he seemed to show up in the right place at the right time to cut out a chance by the Galaxy.
3) One glaring area of concern in this game was the play of A.J. DeLaGarza against his former club. AJ has established himself as a reliable defender, but in this one he committed the foul that led to Zlatan’s penalty and it was his man that scored the game winner. I noted prior to his 31 minute foul on Zlatan that his play hadn’t looked up to par. He did get it together after his American football style tackle on Zlatan and between the game winner, but those two huge errors stand out more than his 89.7% passing accuracy.
4) The elephant in the room is giving up a gaming winning goal after the 80th minute which was a disastrous theme of the 2018 season. The Dynamo actually looked like they might steal this game with a goal or they might earn a point on the road. The last 5 minutes or so saw the home side gain momentum with the exchange of chances by each side now only belonging to LA. It’s way too early to call this a theme for 2019, and certainly digging in late in a game – not for 45 minutes like we saw last season – is a respectable strategy on the road. It’s just a reminder that defensively we’re not all the way there to sit back against a club with potent offensive weapons.