Meetings with Sporting Kansas City are never easy for the Dynamo, even when SKC is shorthanded and coming off a midweek game. Houston managed to scrap for a point Saturday night in the heat at BBVA Compass Stadium thanks to Alberth Elis’ equalizer.
With Sporting Kansas City sitting deep and holding on to a 1-0 lead the Dynamo gain possession in the back with most of their players already forward. This is unusual for the Dynamo as we see so many of their goals on the break, on counterattacks. Kiki Struna collects the ball and has all kinds of time. SKC has 11 men behind the ball and has no real urgency to press Struna.
Struna passes to Maynor Figueroa who also has acres of space in front of him. Figueroa gets his head up to find a long pass option, which he does quite often. Alberth Elis has noticed what Figueroa plans to do and has begun to make himself available, albeit slightly offside at this time.
Figueroa has spotted a pass and sends the ball to the box. We don’t see it yet, but right back AJ DeLaGarza has made a run in to the box and Figueroa sees it.
The ball (in red) makes its way to DeLaGarza who is preparing to play a header first time. For some reason, two SKC defenders have decided to take a break and watch Elis read the flight of the pass and read DeLaGarza’s next move. To be fair it was very hot in Houston this weekend so perhaps they just needed a breather.
DeLaGarza wins the header in front of SKC’s Daniel Salloi and directs the ball to Elis. Elis now has a yard or two of space, but goalkeeper Tim Melia has also read the ball well and seems to be in a good position on the near post.
Elis does very well to open his hips as the ball approaches him. You’ll also notice he leans into the shot, getting his head over the ball so he doesn’t send it to row Z. With two defenders on his left, Elis’ only option for his shot is to the near post. However, Melia seems to have the near post covered….
When you hit a ball as pure as Elis did, into the top corner, even a great goalkeeper like Melia has no chance.
The Dynamo head in to an extended break, with just one US Open Cup game on the schedule for the next two plus weeks. Now we get the chance to see Elis and his Honduran teammates in international action (and hope they all stay healthy).