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Houston Dynamo open Visit Tucson Sun Cup with a draw

The Dynamo came back from behind to draw the New York Red Bulls in the Visit Tucson Sun Cup

MLS: New York Red Bulls at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo opened their annual preseason trip to the Visit Tucson Sun Cup with a 1-1 draw against the New York Red Bulls in the first real test for Head Coach Tab Ramos. Houston had previously won their opening preseason fixture 5-0 against their USL affiliate the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros, but they were unable to continue their winning streak in Tucson, AZ.

The opening minutes saw the Red Bulls a little more comfortable with a dangerous flick by an attacking player which led to a 1v1 with Marko Marić who denied the low shot with his right foot. The slick field made it difficult for the Dynamo to find their rhythm, but they quickly came back utilizing their center forward Mauro Manotas.

Manotas first had a great run from the right side of the field before cutting inside to his weaker left foot, but his shot was saved for a corner. Not too long after that Tomás Martínez had a great spin move with the ball in traffic and played Manotas in on goal with a through ball. Manotas tried to tuck the ball around the New York goalkeeper, but it went wide.

Even though it looked like the Dynamo had retaken the momentum, the Red Bulls would get on the score sheet first. On a corner kick, the ball was played in and Oscar Boniek García tried to flick the ball on, away from danger, but it ended up going into his own net. However, the officials decided to credit Kaku who took the corner even though it really looked like Boniek made contact with the ball.

The game went back and forth for much of the time before halftime when Tomás Martínez nearly found the equalizer. After a great layoff pass by Memo Rodríguez, Martínez curled one with his preferred left foot towards the far post, but again it went wide.

The Red Bulls counter attacked very well in the early minutes of the second half with a great through ball played to Mathias Jørgensen, but his defenders and the Dynamo keeper closed him down easily. Just a minute later Jørgensen missed a sitter following another counter as the ball was played across goal, but he was late to it and put it over the top of the goal.

However, the Dynamo were able to come back after some very good combination play down the left side of the field. The ball would end up with Manotas who played a poor ball across, but it wasn’t cleared by New York and fell to Memo who took a touch and then fired a rocket into the back of the net to tie things early in the second half in Tucson.

Tab Ramos subbed all 11 players and the effect saw an injection of energy into his side. The younger guys were quicker at getting back to defend the counter and were suddenly finding space of their own to attack. Niko Hansen earned a free kick in a dangerous spot after being fouled while he was on the counter. The ball was sent in and found the head of Michael Salazar, but the Red Bulls’ keeper was quick to save it off the line.

The game would end in a 1-1 draw which was a fair result given how back and forth it was. The energy from the second unit of players for the Dynamo was quite something though and the first group of players helped get the equalizer.

The Dynamo will next face Real Salt Lake Wednesday February 19th at 5:00 PM CT followed by Columbus Crew SC Saturday February 22nd at 6:00 PM CT to finish up the tournament.


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