The Houston Dynamo got their first regular season win since D.C. United on May 18th this time in a convincing fashion over the visiting New York Red Bulls. The Dynamo defense had been porous giving up 8 goals in the prior 3 matches while only finding the back of the net once which is why the 4-0 win against RBNY was badly needed.
Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) One of the biggest reasons why the Dynamo have not been in form has been due to their makeshift lineups while international play has gone on. The Dynamo had a number of crucial players called up to play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup while others participated in international friendlies. Having Alberth Elis, Romell Quioto, Maynor Figueroa, and Kiki Struna all starting provided firepower up top with stout defending in the back. The Dynamo simply looked confident and in control all night and the easiest answer is due to a full strength lineup.
2) I would also argue that a very important reason for the dominating win was due to the tactics by Wilmer Cabrera. Too often we’ve seen the Dynamo go up on a lead and retreat into its shell to an often disappointing effect. Against RBNY we saw a different tactic and kind of management. Instead of sitting back, the Dynamo decided to go for more. When the opportunity wasn’t there they knocked it back and reset which forced the Red Bulls to chase the game. This possession kept the ball away from Joe Willis and our goal and took pressure off the defenders. Apart from this strategy, Cabrera adjusted his lineup to a more possession based one with his use of substitutes. In the 76th minute he took off Romell Quioto, who was on a yellow card, to bring on Juan David Cabezas. The move adjusted the lineup to a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-1-2 which helped spread the field while putting a quality ball winner on the field. It was better strategy overall from Cabrera and it was effective. The players looked happy to go for more and the fans were obviously happy with the result. This is the type of play we need to see more of on the road.
3) While having our squad back at full strength is a breath of fresh air, Alberth Elis’s impact may have been the most important. Apart from his 2 goals and 1 assist, he provides so much for the club. He can burn defenders with his elite speed, win balls in the air, take on multiple defenders with his dribbling, and play make for others to get their opportunity on goal. There’s more though, because he’s a known threat, defenders often stay back which hurts their ability to support the offense.
4) The game was almost without blemishes for the Dynamo, but there was a bit of an odd ending to it all. In stoppage time Maynor Figueroa and Alejandro Romero Gamarra (Kaku) may have gotten into it and were both sent off. I say may have because it happened off camera and most eyes were on Alberth Elis delivering a late dagger. The Bayoucitian was able to provide some clarity on the issue, but it was still an unusual way to cap off a near complete team performance by the Dynamo.
From the post-game quotes: Referee Baldomero Toledo said Maynor stepped on Kaku’s foot and pointed at the scoreboard. Kaku then kicked Maynor back.— The Bayoucitian (@thebayoucitian) July 4, 2019