As the season winds down, there is still quite a bit for the men in orange to play for. Though the team’s playoff chances may be all but over, the season is not. Interim head coach Davy Arnaud is coaching for his future whether it be with the Dynamo or not. These players are also playing for their future whether it be with the Dynamo or not, and though it may appear as though teams in the MLS at the bottom of the table have nothing to play for,you wouldnt know by the way these Dynamo players played in this game.
Dynamo fell behind early on in the sixth minute. From a free kick, Mauricio Pereyra crossed a beautiful ball right onto Dom Dwyer who headed it into the goal. Adam Lundkvist & Alberth Elis sandwiched Dwyer but neither truly marked him as Dwyer received the ball fairly easily and scored.
Orlando kept attacking as Dwyer almost scored another in the 20th minute from outside the box that forced Joe Willis to make a diving save. As the half went on, the same chances that Orlando had thrived on started going the Dynamo’s way however. In the 31st minute, Mauro Manotas received a ball in the box and fired it right to Orlando goalkeeper, Briane Rowe. The best chance of the half came in the 37th minute where DeMarcus Beasley crossed the ball into the box off the free kick and the ball landed right onto Maynor FIgueroa’s head however once again Rowe makes a great reactionary save.
Maynor rises— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) September 22, 2019
We're knocking on the door... pic.twitter.com/lX6JUDrUA8
The Dynamo came out of halftime just as aggressive. In the 55th minute, Alberth Elis was able to get by multiple defenders and fire a shot from the side of the goal that was blocked away. The game seemed to take a turn once Memo Rodriguez came in the game in the 63rd minute. Just a few minutes later, Memo fired a shot from outside the box to make his presence in the game known. In the 66th minute, Mauro Manotas gets in on the action and works his way into a great opportunity to score but instead passes it back to Alberth Elis, who had a less than advantageous position, and he fires it over the bar and wide.
Creating all the chances, just looking for that breakthrough pic.twitter.com/tfyzjp1JsK— Houston Dynamo (@HoustonDynamo) September 22, 2019
Finally in the 70th minute, Memo’s substitution came to fruition. Rodriguez took the ball above the box and used some fancy footwork which included a defection and passed the ball right to Ramirez who’s first touch was a cross right onto the head of Elis who put it in the back of the net. A one-two-three beauty.
Before we could all finish admiring the previous goal, the Dynamo struck again in the 73rd minute. Manotas received the ball in the corner and used a great run to get himself in the box. When it looked like he’d use this opportunity to score, once again he decided to pass, however this time, he passed it across the goal right onto the foot of the streaking Ramirez who put it in the goal.
After the two goals, Dynamo went right into defensive mode as they tried to preserve the one-goal lead in the final 15 minutes. This became big Joe Willis’ time to shine as he finished the game with three official saves but had two of them happened on the same play in the 80th minute. Carlos Ascues dribbled the ball into the box and fired a low strike that was saved away right onto the foot of the streaking Ruan who fired it onto goal but once again Willis saved it away.
The Dynamo wound up controlling possession for the rest of the match and held out for the one goal victory. This game brings interim head coach Davy Arnaud’s record to 2-3-1 since taking over and gives the team some end of the year momentum. This team will not get much time off however as they must get ready to travel to the west coast and take on the the best team in the MLS, LAFC.
6’ ORL: Dom Dwyer (assisted by Mauricio Pereyra)
70’ HOU: Alberth Elis (assisted by Christian Ramirez)
73’ HOU: Christian Ramirez (assisted by Mauro Manotas)
59’ ORL: Cristian Higuita (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-2-3-1): Joe Willis; DeMarcus Beasley, Maynor Figueroa, Aljaz Kiki Struna, Adam Lundkvist; Oscar Boniek García, Matías Vera; Christian Ramirez (90’ Darwin Ceren), Tommy McNamara (63’ Memo Rodríguez), Alberth Elis; Mauro Manotas (78’ Tomas Martinez)
Orlando City SC (4-3-3): Brian Rowe; Kamal Miller, Robin Jansson, Ludovic Sane, Ruan; Will Johnson, Jhegson Mendez (85’ Christopher Mueller), Cristian Higuita (64’ Carlos Ascues); Nani, Dom Dwyer, Mauricio Pereyra (63’ Tesho Akindele)