The Houston Dynamo have struggled to get wins as of late with 1-1-3 record in their past five regular season games. They’ve dropped their previous two games which were both on the road including a midweek 2-0 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes. The Dynamo hoped to get some momentum back as they traveled to the other coast to take on the New England Revolution. However, after an encouraging first half performance, similar conservative tactics led to an early equalizer and then a late game winner by the Revolution at Gillette Stadium.
Prior to kick off Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera opted to utilize a lineup heavily featuring bench players likely to keep players fresh due to a congested schedule. Early into the match some of the hunger by these role players helped them be aggressive. Houston does not always press high when they’re on the road, but the Dynamo did well to win balls in the midfield because of that pressure.
The Dynamo got a good chance inside of the 10 minute mark. Michael Salazar played a well weighted through ball to Romell Quioto who had space in front of him. The Honduran used his speed to get to it quickly and go at goal. Instead of taking the shot on himself he played a ball across goal to Marlon Hairston, but the pass was off resulting in a goal kick.
Quioto would try his luck again after a good spell of possession in the final third of the field. After receiving the ball, Quioto took a few touches to create space for himself and he fired a low shot with pace on goal which forced a low save by New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner.
The Revolution would have a close chance of their own around the 20th minute. They would send a ball into traffic which forced Dynamo keeper Joe Willis to make an awkward save with his feet before it went out for a corner.
Houston dialed up their offense with Quioto playing a perfect ball to Hairston, but Hairston’s touch was heavy and it got caught under Matt Turner. However, Turner can’t hold on and Houston got a shot off which was deflected off Darwin Cerén with referee Silviu Petrescu calling a handball on Cerén ending the dangerous play inside the 18 yard box.
The Dynamo weren’t done knocking on the door and they eventually got it open in the 25th minute following a corner kick. The ball would fall to Cerén who played a low shot with a ton of pace on it resulting in the Dynamo getting the opening goal.
After the whistle blew for halftime, the Dynamo led 1 to 0. Apart from the great team pressure by the Dynamo which led to quickly regaining possession, great balls from deep by Cerén to Quioto stretched the Revolution back line hurting their ability to move up and support the offense. Additionally in the first half, to put it lightly, Romell Quioto was a handful for the Revs.
The Revolution came out to start the second half with a lot of pressure of their own. The Dynamo seemed more content to try to absorb that pressure and sit deeper on their lead which led to an early equalizer. In the 51st minute Diego Fagundez sent in a ball on a corner kick towards back post and Antonio Mlinar Delamea rose up to beat Joe Willis.
The Dynamo tried to respond and go up in the 57th minute, but were unable to get it. Mauro Manotas, who came on at halftime, played a great ball through to Quioto. Quioto took some touches and fired the ball at Turner who was able to make the save pretty easily. A few minutes later close passing between Manotas and Hairston led to a Manotas shot that found the side netting.
As the clocked ticked on the Revolution increasingly looked the better and more dangerous side. The Dynamo looked tired, they sat back which let the Revs possess in their half, and whenever the Houston offense pushed up, the Revolution were quick to counter.
In stoppage time the Revolution would get their game winner. Substitute Cristian Penilla, who had been working over the Dynamo back line since he got on the pitch, got free in the box and went to the end line which pulled Willis off his line. Penilla fired a pass across goal which found Teal Bunbury who slotted it passed Adam Lundqvist for the home team.
After the final whistle, the Dynamo would end up losing out on a road point and it felt a little disappointing though not all surprising. Cabrera shocked everyone with his lineup leading many to believe the game was doomed from the start. Then over the first half it really looked like the team could pull it off. However, very conservative tactics from the start of the second half ended up giving New England chance after chance to equalize and then take the lead.
The loss is Houston’s third in a row and the Dynamo are now winless in five regular season games in a row. The heavy road schedule, double game weeks made worse by US Open Cup matches, international call-ups all do not help, but at some point the excuses have to run out.
Next up is the New York Red Bulls who come to visit BBVA Stadium next Wednesday, July 3rd at 8:00 PM CT.
25’ HOU: Darwin Cerén (assisted by Alejandro Fuenmayor)
51’ NE: Antonio Mlinar Delamea (assisted by Diego Fagundez)
90’1 +1’ NE: Teal Bunbury (assisted by Cristian Penilla, Juan Fernando Caicedo)
43’ HOU: Romell Quioto (yellow card)
45’ NE: Antonio Mlinar Delamea (yellow card)
54’ NE: Andrew Farrell (yellow card)
81’ HOU: Juan David Cabezas (yellow card)
83’ NE: Juan Agudelo (yellow card)
86’ HOU: Alejandro Fuenmayor (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Joe Willis; DaMarcus Beasley (67’ Adam Lundqvist), Kevin Garcia, Alejandro Fuenmayor, A.J. DeLaGarza; Juan David Cabezas, Darwin Cerén, Tommy McNamara; Romell Quioto, Michael Salazar (HT Mauro Manotas), Marlon Hairston (79’ Tomás Martínez)
New England Revolution (4-2-3-1): Matt Turner; Luis Caicedo, Antonio Mlinar Delamea, Andrew Farrell, Brandon Bye; DeJuan Jones, Diego Fagundez (57’ Teal Bunbury); Juan Fernando Caicedo, Carles Gil (90’+3’ Jalil Anibaba), Juan Agudelo; Justin Rennicks (61’ Cristian Penilla)