The Houston Dynamo followed up their commanding 4-0 win over the New York Red Bulls with a disappointing 3-2 finish. Despite the closeness of the score, the Dynamo struggled for nearly 80 minutes to find themselves. It was close in the end and an equalizer was in sight, but even if it were a road draw for those that watched it know it would’ve been pretty lucky.
Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) Wilmer Cabrera was coming off a game where he finally had a (almost) full strength squad with a few players missing due to injury including perennial starter DaMarcus Beasley. The results were instantaneous and positive. Then he followed that up by resting several starters including Romell Quioto and Tomás Martínez. While Quioto was able to come off the bench in the second half and provide much of the offense, playmaking and possession in Cincinnati’s half was badly needed and that’s where Martínez could have stepped in. With Maynor Figueroa missing out due to a suspension, Cabrera has often chosen to go to Kevin Garcia over Alejandro Fuenmayor. While I think Garcia hasn’t been as bad as many, I don’t know what Fuenmayor did to not get a start for this exact situation. Now, I think Cabrera was almost right on with his use of subs with one exception. Darwin Cerén proved to be a good substitution as his ability to accurately deliver long passes was a huge plus. Additionally Quioto helped obviously. However not getting Martínez and instead choosing to put on Michael Salazar was definitely an indication of Cabrera looking ahead to next week. The Dynamo would go on to come within one goal so Martínez could have been useful.
2) The lineup and the one substitution definitely contributed to some of the problems, but it wasn’t all of them. The starting XI wasn’t terrible, just not optimal, but these conservative road tactics just do not work. We had Alberth Elis out there, we had Mauro Manotas, but passing in the midfield was abysmal and keeping the lines deeper stranded our forwards. Cincinnati wasted a lot of their chances, but because they were able to keep winning the ball in the midfield due to poor passes or their very physical play, they quickly transitioned to offense and were able to convert some of their many chances. Prior to the penalty, the team looked defeated, but getting a goal back helped reenergize them and we saw how effective pushing a higher line is. We got within one goal and had continued to increase the opportunities for an equalizer, but it was too late to start playing this way.
3) The physical play and poor passing by both teams for much of the first half made this a very unattractive game to watch. Cincinnati set the tone early with a foul on Alberth Elis which could have been a red or yellow card, but the tackle occurred within two minutes of play so the ref decided to issue a firm talking to instead. Elis also could have seen red in the 19th minute as his frustration due to a lack of service and getting pushed around was getting to him, but the official this time settled for a yellow card. Apart from the score, it just wasn’t a fun game to watch as a Dynamo fan until Romell Quioto’s penalty (which was an absolute perfect finish).
4) I’m definitely feeling for Joe Willis in this one. It just wasn’t his game tonight on what has been a very good year for him and Cincinnati’s third goal pretty much sums up the game.