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Three takeaways from Houston versus LAFC

Mike Kiel LJR Sports Media

Houston Dynamo

It was the usual start and the all too predictable outcome for the Houston Dynamo in a rare Friday night encounter as the visiting LAFC rolled by Houston 3-1. Romell Quioto’s fourth minute goal has become the norm lately for Houston while the surrendering of late goals in each half delivered the inevitable. The three takeaways for Houston fans are nearly unpalatable.

LAFC delivered on the road

It was not so much that LAFC won the game but how they exemplified what Houston fans thought they would see this summer, namely teamwork. With their scoring stars on the bench, LAFC put a rotation on the pitch that had accounted for exactly 10 of the club’s 50 goals through 19 games this season. It was almost as if head coach Bob Bradley was betting that the Houston starting XI could not beat his reserves and they couldn’t. Five were starters with two starts or less to their credit in 2019 and only a handful had double digit appearances.

Adama Diomande overshadowed by the exploits of Carlos Vela and Diego Rossi (29 goals/17 assists combined) scored a brace to lead LAFC to the win in the heat of Houston.

Failure to finish

The only saving grace for Houston had been that they were winning at home. Well, scratch that off the list as Houston has lost two of its last three at home across all competitions. Head coach Wilmer Cabrera words echoed the sentiment that has plagued this team, “They (LAFC) were finishing very well and we couldn’t finish.”

The worst example and more likely the turning point in the match came in the 26th minute. Forward Alberth Elis on a break chipped the ball over an onrushing Tyler Miller but failed to protect the ball as it bounded towards the net. Defender Mohamed El-Munir ran him down and cleared the ball away at the last second.

Friday night saw Houston put just five shots on goal out of thirteen total shots while scoring once. Meanwhile LAFC were putting eight of fourteen on target, netting three.

Houston has more problems then finishing but we will save those for another time. Suffice it to say that if you can’t finish, you won’t win very often.

Houston has talent but zero chemistry

It does not matter how talented your players are if they can’t play together and complement each other. At this point in the season, Houston has as much if not more talent at its disposal than most teams in the league yet they lack the consistent chemistry necessary to win. This failure falls squarely on the shoulders of general manager Matt Jordan and Wilmer Cabrera. Jordan continues to bring in the talent but as of yet Cabrera has been unable to find the right mix. Just ten or so days ago, Cabrera promised a difference in play with the return of all his star players. He needs to deliver on that promise. We hear from the organization that players need their rest and the rotation is necessary yet a player like LAFC Carlos Vela had played all but 11 minutes this season for Bob Bradley before sitting out Friday’s match. That would be 19 consecutive games for those who are counting. Only one player for Houston (Tommy McNamara) has appeared in every game but not one has started every game. That means a different lineup in every match. You cannot build consistency and continuity much less chemistry like that.