The Houston Dynamo returned to the comfort of BBVA Stadium Friday night as they hosted league leaders Los Angles FC. LAFC, coming off a US Open Cup match just 48 hours prior sent out a team full of reserves, a game you would think the Dynamo should take all 3 points from, especially at home. That did not happen.
The home side came out of the gates flying, as they often do in the friendly confines of BBVA. Alberth Elis did well to get behind the LAFC defense after just 15 seconds but his shot rang off the bar. The quick start for Houston was a sign of things to come.
Just three minutes, the Dynamo found the opening goal. Tomas Martinez picked out Romell Quioto on the left side of the box and that’s where the magic happened. The Honduran took on LAFC captain Steven Beitashour, leaving him stumbling backwards and on the ground, while Quioto put the ball in the back of the net past LAFC keeper Tyler Miller.
Houston kept up their pressure early in the half. In the 6th minute, forward Mauro Manotas fired just wide from 22 yards out. A weaving run by AJ DeLaGarza in the 22nd minute set up a great scoring chance as well. The Dynamo right back slid a pass through to Elis and Miller came out to force a corner on a shot from a tough angle.
The Dynamo looked to have doubled their lead in 26th minute but a last gasp effort kept the game 1-0. Defender Maynor Figueroa picked out Elis with an incredible ball over the top, in behind the LA defense. Elis got by Miller but defender Mohamed El-Munir made an incredible tackle at the last moment to deny the goal.
Video review was used in the 30th minute for a potential penalty for the away side. Josh Perez went down on the edge of the box after a Adam Lundkvist challenge and LAFC players immediately protested to the referee, Armando Villarreal. The referee waved play on but moments later was called on by VAR to check the replay. Perez looked to have gone down before the challenge by Lundkvist and the no call stood.
LAFC did find their equalizer on the stroke of halftime. Midfielder Lee Nguyen picked out Adama Diomande on the back post with a lofted pass and the Norwegian striker rose over DeLaGarza and sent a looping header past Joe Willis and a retreating Kiki Struna to make the score 1-1 at the break.
LAFC took the lead early in the second half with the same combination as their first goal. A ball in the box couldn’t be cleared by the Dynamo defense and Nguyen found Diomande all alone on the doorstep. The LAFC striker got his second of the night and of the season to give the league leaders the lead in the 49th minute.
The Dynamo nearly equalized right back with Martinez hitting the post with a curling effort in the 51st minute. It would turn out to be the one of the few chances for the Dynamo to find the goal that would get them anything from this match.
In the 79th minute, LAFC broke free through second half sub Diego Rossi and Josh Perez should have put the visitors up another goal. But as he’s done a number of times this season, Joe Willis came out to make a good save and kept Houston in it.
The second goal nearly came for Houston after 82 minutes. Elis rose above LAFC defender Tristan Blackmon but his header couldn’t beat Miller who did well to get down to his left and make the save.
Rossi finished the job for the visitors in the 88th minute. After receiving the ball in the box, the Uruguayan held off DeLaGarza and deftly chipped Willis for the third and deciding goal. DeLaGarza was once again at fault for multiple goals and with the signing of Jose Bizama this week, you have to wonder if his minutes are going to begin to fade away.
This game proved not only how good LAFC is but showed Dynamo fans something they haven’t seen much of in recent years: depth. For LAFC to play 48 hours prior and start a mostly “B” team in Houston, and walk out with a win, shows just how deep Bob Bradley’s team is. The backups that LAFC sent out there on Friday night are not household names but they are quality MLS players, and they are coached by the best coach in the league. When you have quality players and a solid group of reserves, you challenge for trophies in the league. Something LAFC is doing this season, and the Dynamo still strive to achieve.
Next up is Atlanta United on Wednesday, July 17th at 6:00 PM CT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
4’ HOU - Romell Quioto (assisted by Tomas Martinez)
45’ LAFC - Adama Diomande (assisted by Lee Nguyen)
49’ LAFC - Adama Diomande (assisted by Lee Nguyen)
88’ LAFC - Diego Rossi (assisted by Josh Perez)
71’ LAFC - Dejan Jakovic (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Joe Willis; Adam Lundkvist, Maynor Figueroa Kiki Struna, A.J. DeLaGarza; Matías Vera, Oscar Boniek García (72’ Tommy McNamara), Tomas Martinez; Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas (55’ Michael Salazar), Alberth Elis
Los Angeles Football Club (4-3-3): Tyler Miller; Steven Beitashour, Tristan Blackmon, Dejan Jakovic, Mohamed El-Munir; Mark-Anthony Kaye, Peter-Lee Vassell (46’ Latif Blessing), Lee Nguyen; Josh Perez (89’ Eddie Segura), Adama Diomande, Rodolfo Zelaya (54’ Diego Rossi)