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Three things that stood out in the Dynamo loss to Sporting Kansas City

Three observations from the Dynamo loss to SKC

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Sporting Kansas City William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo did not open up their first trip on the road very well falling 4-0 to Sporting Kansas City. Following up a so-so draw with a big loss is not the start that new head coach Tab Ramos was looking for especially to a Kansas City side that finished last season 11th in the Western Conference.

It was a difficult night for the Dynamo, one that they really never seemed in control with the home side putting away another goal every time it looked like positive build up for Houston. Alberth Elis was once again absent this contest and his pace to keep defenses from pushing too far up the field was needed to help create some space in the midfield. There’s a lot to talk about from this one and it’s mostly negative, but that’s the result of a 4-0 loss. Here are just a few things I want to focus on:

Set Pieces

Kansas City capitalized on two set piece opportunities and this is an area that the Dynamo will need to improve upon. There are a number of ways to avoid that like not giving up silly fouls around the box, but the marking needs to be tighter. The first goal showed a bit of confusion, but it all started with Adam Lundqvist ball watching and losing the eventual goal scorer Roger Espinoza. Zarek Valentin did his best to take away the play from Alan Pulido, but he isn’t able to clear it and the ball goes right into the clear path of Espinoza.

The second goal the Dynamo conceded was also preventable. Coming off a corner the ball fell to Khiry Shelton who had time to take a touch and put the ball in the net. The problem was with the amount of space he had with his defender. Maynor Figueroa and Valentin were both doubling up on Roberto Puncec with Valentin marking Puncec and Shelton. This amount of space gave Shelton the time to control the ball and place it in the net.

Houston will need to tidy up in the back and apart from support and communication to stay organized they will also need to sharpen up on their set piece defense.

Midfield Presence

The Dynamo were killed in transition by SKC and a lot of times that went straight through the midfield rather than pushing them through the wings. But Houston also gave up a lot of space between the midfielders and the defense with some players like Kiki Struna pushing too high into the attack and others like Matías Vera sitting too deep which gifted opportunities to switch the ball from the wing to the middle of the pitch. The communication needs to improve along the back line for players to know when to push up and who needs to stay back, but the support needs to also be there from the midfield. The roles of Tomás Martínez and Vera are a little more defined with Martínez given more license to stay higher up and Vera more to win balls in a deeper position. However, Oscar Boniek García is a bit in limbo having to do everything in between, but against Kansas City he actually was often pushed up too high. This often meant Martínez was dropping back to cover defensively which hurt the ability of the Dynamo to start their offense. Speaking of that…

What Offense?

The Dynamo generated a grand total of 1 shot on target courtesy of Memo Rodríguez. They had a total of 9 shots with Memo and Adam Lundqvist leading the pack with 2 each. Compare that to the 17 total shots by SKC and 7 on target and you have a recipe for failure.

There were some opportunities that the Dynamo simply couldn’t capitalize by putting the ball on frame, but they generally looked not threatening at all. As the Dynamo get healthier and Tab gets more games under his belt hopefully he finds the right combination of personnel, formation, and tactics to get his team scoring more goals.

So what did you think of the game and what stood out to you? What are you looking forward to seeing the next time the Dynamo take the field? Let us know in the comments below.