The Dynamo kicked off their 2020 MLS season in front of a sold-out BBVA Stadium on Saturday afternoon. After going behind early the Dynamo managed to come away with a point from the game thanks to a second half goal from Mauro Manotas.
A draw at home isn’t the best result, head coach Tab Ramos even touched on it in his post game press conference, but there were positive signs from the Dynamo yesterday. “I’m pleased with it. Obviously, we want to win the game. We’re home. Anytime you don’t win at home you feel like you’re leaving something and that’s something that we are going to have to get somewhere else which is difficult,” Ramos said after the 1-1 draw, “in general, I’m happy with where the team is at this point considering the absences, we have but sometimes missing players is an opportunity for other players, and they have to take advantage of that. I think a few guys did a pretty good job today.”
So, where do the Dynamo go from here? Well, there’s a whole lot of season to be played. Let’s take a look at three things that stood out from yesterday’s performance.
A Sell-Out Crowd
A big, loud crowd in any sport is a huge advantage, especially in soccer. The players feed off the energy and the passion from the supporters. That was true at BBVA Stadium on Saturday afternoon as all of the players made mention after the game about how great the crowd and the atmosphere was.
Memo Rodriguez on opening the season at home in front of a sell-out crowd. #HOUvLA pic.twitter.com/xuSLgJCYj7— Dynamo Theory (@dynamotheory) February 29, 2020
Head coach Tab Ramos also mentioned the atmosphere in his press conference. “Loved it, it was amazing. I was so thankful that so many people came out to this game. I think it was a great atmosphere to play in. It was exciting. It was exciting for me to coach it. It was exciting for the players to play it, so I think it was a great day.” So, there you have it Houston. This team, this coaching staff, they need you, they feed off of you. Let’s do it again in two weeks when the defending MLS Cup Champion Seattle Sounders come to town.
After news broke late Friday of an injury to likely starting right back Jose Bizama, Dynamo fans began to worry about what would happen at the position and would Zarek Valentin be able to step in and play well. It was only one game but Valentin played an excellent game on Saturday. Valentin finished with a 91.2% passing percentage as he bombed down the right flank all game. His assist on Manotas’ goal was a beautiful pick out and his offensive abilities only add to his solid defensive effort.
Take a look at Valentin’s heat map from Saturday. He lived on the right wing in the attacking end. If the Dynamo are able to get there fullbacks in to the attack as much as they did against LA, all while staying sound on the defensive end, the team is going to find success this year.
On another note, Valentin is an excellent interview. Fans are going to love hearing from him this season. He’s very honest and breaks down the game and things that happen on the field extremely well. His veteran presence and leadership in the locker room can not be understated.
Zarek Valentin on the defense’s performance against the Galaxy attack. #HOUvLA pic.twitter.com/KQViO3xrWC— Dynamo Theory (@dynamotheory) February 29, 2020
No Elis or Quintero
Both Alberth Elis and Darwin Quintero were left out of the 18 on Saturday and played no part in the season opener. Tommy McNamara and Memo Rodrgiuez stepped in to the starting lineup and both players were ok. There were flashes from both guys at points in the game but neither of them had a consistent performance. If there is a silver lining from a 1-1 draw at home, the biggest of all would be that this team had 2 of its best players in street clothes. We don’t have a timetable on when both guys will return but if add Elis and Quintero to this team, playing like they did on Saturday, Dynamo fans are going to be pleased with a lot of results in 2020.