The Houston Dynamo ended a three game losing streak earlier this week with a 4-0 win over the New York Red Bulls. They hoped to carry that momentum as they traveled to Ohio to take on the newest MLS side, FC Cincinnati. Unfortunately an uneven performance to start the game had Cincinnati take a 2-0 first half lead. The Dynamo fought to get back in it, but conceded a third. A hard fought late push had the Dynamo within a goal, but they were unable to get a point at Nippert Stadium.
The game opened very physically with Emmanuel Ledesma fouling Tommy McNamara hard in what would have been a yellow card if it weren’t so early in the game. Both sides exchanged fouls back and forth trying to dictate the tempo of the game. FC Cincinnati played a very direct style, not wanting to possess for extended stints. The Dynamo also struggled to possess due to excessive turnovers.
While neither side looked firmly in control in the opening 15 minutes, Cincy began to find their rhythm. A poor turnover by Joe Willis out of the back led to a chance that went wide of the goal and a counter attack was nearly capitalized on due to A.J. DeLaGarza slipping on the artificial surface.
The Dynamo finally got their chance to challenge Cincinnati before the 25th minute. The ball bounced around the box and the Dynamo wanted a handball called following Adam Lundqvist’s strike, but their shouts fell on deaf ears. Eventually the ball found its way to Alberth Elis who fired a shot right at goalkeeper Spencer Richey.
The home Cincinnati side, who had looked better overall up to this point, opened the scoring in the 29th minute. A poor pass in the middle of the field by Elis saw Cincy on the counter attack. Emmanuel Ledesma played a great through ball to a streaking Kekuta Manneh who beat Joe Willis by playing the ball into the back corner. 1-0 to Cincinnati.
Not long after that Cincinnati would get their second goal of the game. Sloppy play by the Dynamo who couldn’t clear a ball saw the ball end up with Mathieu Delpagne. Delpagne slotted it forward to Rashawn Dally who easily beat Willis.
Mauro Manotas tried to get one back before the 45th minute mark following a great run by Elis. Elis drove the ball down towards the 6 yard box and tried to cross the ball across goal. The ball was deflected and it found its way to Manotas. Manotas turned and opted to shoot the ball instead of slot it to Tommy McNamara, but the shot was well wide of the target.
In the 54th minute Oscar Boniek García would get the Dynamo a chance to come back within one. Boniek won the ball in the midfield with numbers up and space in front of him. He would take his space and found Mauro Manotas in front of goal. The Colombian again pulled his shot wide left of goal.
The Dynamo came close again to getting a goal back as the chances began to increase with Houston pushing numbers forward. The Dynamo were winning balls in the midfield due to the higher line and numbers in advanced positions which led to quicker counter attacks. A great ball by Tommy McNamara set up Alberth Elis to get a goal back, but it somehow was denied by Nick Hagglund who headed the close effort away from danger.
Cincinnati would increase their lead despite not being the stronger side in the second half. A counter attack with space saw Victor Ulloa take a shot right at Joe Willis who was able to get it, but it slipped through his legs and slowly rolled into the back of the net.
Houston finally would get a goal back this time coming from the penalty spot. Romell Quioto got free on the left side and made his run into the 18 yard box and was brought down. Quioto stepped up to take the penalty himself and buried the effort in the upper corner of the net.
Not long after the Dynamo would pull within a goal thanks to an own goal by Nick Hagglund. Adam Lundqvist played a great ball aimed at Elis, but Hagglund dove to head it out, but he ended up putting it into his own net.
Despite the late push by the Dynamo who had a number of chances to potentially equalize, they would fall 3-2 on the road. Overall it was a far too conservative approach the first half and sloppy defending helped the home team get two goals in. It was a lot better in the second half, but a goalkeeping error led to a third goal for Cincy which took some of the wind out of Houston. A late penalty reenergized the team, but it wasn’t enough to get level.
Next up is LAFC Friday, July 12th at 8:00 PM CT at BBVA Stadium.
29’ CIN: Kekuta Manneh (assisted by Emmanuel Ledesma, Allan Cruz)
38’ CIN: Rashawn Dally (assisted by Mathieu Delpagne)
61’ CIN: Victor Ulloa (assisted by Emmanuel Ledesma)
79’ HOU: Romell Quioto (penalty)
81’ HOU: Nick Hagglund (own goal)
19’ HOU: Alberth Elis (yellow card)
25’ HOU: Juan David Cabezas (yellow card)
32’ CIN: Frankie Amaya (yellow card)
74’ HOU: Kiki Struna (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Joe Willis; Adam Lundqvist, Kevin Garcia, Kiki Struna, A.J. DeLaGarza; Juan David Cabezas (HT Romell Quioto), Matías Vera (66’ Darwin Cerén), Oscar Boniek García; Tommy McNamara, Mauro Manotas (75’ Michael Salazar), Alberth Elis
FC Cincinnati (4-2-3-1): Spencer Richey; Mathieu Delpagne (88’ Alvas Powell), Nick Hagglund, Justin Hotye, Kendall Waston; Allan Cruz, Leonardo Bertone; Kekuta Manneh, Frankie Amaya (HT Victor Ulloa), Emmanuel Ledesma; Rashawn Dally (66’ Fanendo Adi)