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Offense struggled, but defense shined for Dynamo in Texas Derby draw

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The Houston Dynamo just didn’t click on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense kept FC Dallas off the score line in a Texas Derby draw

MLS: FC Dallas at Houston Dynamo Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

It was all level after 90 minutes in the first Texas Derby of 2020 between the Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas. Houston arguably looked the stronger side and had the better chances to score, but the offense just didn’t click to produce a goal. The defense did well to stop a FC Dallas side that counter attacked well and at times pressed high, but the Dynamo back line was there to prevent any dangerous looks.

Early into the match neither side appeared sharp with their play. FC Dallas moved the ball well from the back through the midfield, but their forwards often slowed play down in the final third which allowed Houston’s defenders to get back and set up to prevent an easy goal. Meanwhile Dallas’s high press made it difficult for the Dynamo to get the ball to their forwards as sloppy passing in the midfield gave the ball right back to Dallas.

In the 19th minute Alberth Elis did great to win a ball out of the back to set up the first dangerous chance by either side. After winning the ball, it found the feet of Memo Rodríguez, but his first touch was poor and slightly behind his step which took the power out of his shot making an easy save for Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.

Closer to the 30 minute mark, the Dynamo continued to find their rhythm with passing still not being as crisp as it could be, but it was an improvement from the early minutes. The Dynamo utilized a higher press as Dallas began to sit deeper and it helped them win the ball back in good spaces to possess and make chances in the final third of the field.

Just before halftime Darwin Quintero won a ball just outside the corner of Dallas’s 18 yard box. He somehow split the two-man wall going near post on his shot, but his effort was just off target.

Early into the second half Jesús Ferreira tried his luck to get Dallas on the board as the visitors began to increase their pressure. Ferreira was able to dribble across the top of Houston’s 18 yard box with Memo Rodríguez not pressuring as much as he should. Ferreira let a low effort go across the box which was a lot closer than it should have been given the lack of pressure, but it was still out for a goal kick.

As the second half continued on, Dallas began to rely on the counter attack by finding space behind Houston’s back line with the Dynamo increasing their press. A lot of the chances they did get were quickly slowed by Kiki Struna and Maynor Figueroa getting into position to force the Dallas forwards to wait for reinforcements which allowed the Dynamo to get numbers back as well. Dallas looked rejuvenated after making a pair of subs before the 70th minute which got them free after some poor passing out of the midfield, but good defensive stands by Adam Lundqvist and Zarek Valentin kept the Dynamo from conceding.

The Dynamo nearly opened up the scoring in the 74th minute with Elis this time getting free. He took a touch to put him on goal which may have come off the hand of a Dallas defender, but it fell to Elis who was 1v1 with Maurer. However, his shot was straight at the Dallas keeper and the score line remained locked at 0 goals apiece.

The final whistle would blow with the sides even. It wasn’t a bad night overall, especially with the defense earning – deservedly so – a clean sheet. The midfield looked rusty with their passing and the forwards were just not in step with each other, but it was a fair result considering this was just the fourth game the Dynamo have played in six months as noted by broadcaster Eddie Robinson.

It will be a short turnaround with the Dynamo traveling to take on Sporting Kansas City on the road next Tuesday, August 25th at 7:30 PM CT.

Disciplinary:

42’ FCD: Jesús Ferreira (yellow card)

45’ + 1’ HOU: Memo Rodríguez (yellow card)

82’ HOU: Maynor Figueroa (yellow card)

85’ FCD: Thiago Sanots (yellow card)

Lineups:

Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundqvist, Maynor Figueroa, Kiki Struna, Zarek Valentin; Memo Rodríguez, Matías Vera, Darwin Cerén ; Darwin Quintero, Christian Ramirez (83’ Tomás Martínez), Alberth Elis

FC Dallas (3-4-2-1): Jimmy Maurer; Reto Ziegler, Matt Hedges, Bressan; John Nelson, Bryan Acosta (69’ Brandon Servania), Thiago Santos, Reggie Cannon; Jesús Ferreira (63’ Fabrice-Jean Picault), Michael Barrios (69’ Paxton Pomykal); Franco Jara (89’ Ricardo Pepi)