Oh boy, it wasn’t a dream. Last night the Houston Dynamo dropped their midweek matchup 5-0 on the road to Atlanta United FC. A less than full strength starting XI coupled with an early red card to a star player saw this one go the home side’s way for almost 90 minutes. There were a few bright moments, but those were overshadowed by a lack of finishing and Atlanta’s ability to find the back of the net at will.
Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) A huge debate has grown over the simple question “Who is the blame for this?” This being the current state of the Dynamo. It isn’t as simple as it sounds though with many pointing to Wilmer Cabrera, the Dynamo ownership, the hectic scheduling, and the players themselves. I think the correct answer is all of the above. The ownership group could/should invest in the club more to give the head coach more to work with. If we weren’t playing a double game week seemingly every week then the coach might not have to rest players. Players should know not to do what Alberth Elis did last night (more on that later). And Cabrera should know not to play as conservatively as he has and to not play Kevin Garcia at right back.
2) Sticking with the coach point at least for this game, the lineup that Wilmer Cabrera put out against Atlanta had many thinking this game was lost before it had even started. With Romell Quioto and Mauro Manotas on the bench, among others, and a more conservative formation, this game on paper looked like it would be a disaster. It always seems Wilmer Cabrera has his eye on the next match without considering the present. While I said the answer to the question posed in the first quick thought was all of the above, I think Cabrera is not getting the most out of the current group of players.
When asked about Elis’s incident, Cabrera said he had instructed his team about this referee and to not react the way Elis did. But Elis did anyways going against the will of his coach. Now, to me there needs to be some sort of disciplinary action by the coach, but will there? The Dynamo need to get back on track and a good way to do that is with one of your star players. Cabrera is in a tough spot where he could potentially lose the locker room or even worse if he doesn’t his job. It’s not a good position to be in, but if the Dynamo had picked up a few more points then his seat wouldn’t be as hot as it is.
3) On to arguably the moment of the game: the Elis red card. Some players on this team know how to pick up incredibly stupid cards. Think of all the times Quioto wears his emotions on his sleeve only to pick up a card for saying something or doing something that he shouldn’t have. Well, Wednesday Elis committed a foul – arguably a pretty light on, and he didn’t like it so he kicked the ball away. Yellow card. Not a great one because he didn’t punt it into the stands or anything, but referees don’t like that kind of thing and the card was justified. Elis didn’t like that so he got up in Chris Penso’s face to let him know and he bumped him. Automatic red card all day, every day. What was he thinking? That by acting like a tough guy would get the yellow taken back? He wasn’t thinking and he really put a huge burden on his team.
4) There were a few bright points of the game worth noting and finishing on. Early into the game Alberth Elis made a great run with the ball and played it across the goal, only Marlon Hairston mistimed his shot and whiffed on it. It was a great ball in, just didn’t find the back of the net. Also as soon as Quioto and Manotas got onto the pitch, the team finally looked a little more dangerous up top. Prior to that the team had largely been behind the ball and getting some speed and a holdup player on the field really helped. You just wonder maybe they should have started after all.