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Late Maynor Figueroa header salvages Houston Dynamo draw at Nashville

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The Dynamo passed well, had the majority of possession, but struggled to break down Nashville until nearly stoppage time.

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Nashville SC Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

In the first ever meeting between the Houston Dynamo and Nashville SC, the two sides battled to a 1-1 draw. Nashville was content to sit deeper and was very successful on the counter attack even with fewer numbers. This helped them grab an early second half lead before the Dynamo leveled things just before the end of the game.

In the opening minutes, the Dynamo dominated the majority of the possession with Nashville largely sitting deeper. Nashville’s defense was difficult to break down, especially for Houston, but the Dynamo kept the ball in the home side’s half.

Neither side took too many risks with the clock ticking on in the first half as both seemed content to expose mistakes with each team settling in a more defensive posture trying to find rhythm.

Before the 25th minute it looked like Nashville had the upper hand with Daniel Ríos getting free behind the Dynamo backline. He looked to go in on goal before being brought down by Adam Lundqvist in the box with the referee immediately pointing to the penalty spot. However, Houston would be bailed out after closer inspection on Daniel Ríos’s initial run was ruled just barely offside.

Ríos was able to find the back of the net after getting free again behind Houston’s defense and poking it passed Marko Marić, but the assistant referee raised the flag for offside. Ari Lassiter tried to quickly respond with a nice cutting run inside the box. He had Mauro Manotas he could’ve picked out, but he went for goal himself which took a deflection and was saved by former Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis.

Nashville would open the scoring up early in the second half. Halftime substitute Derrick Jones got free on a counter – the Dynamo wanted a foul on Memo Rodríguez just prior to the play – and made a great run at the top of the box. Just before fending off a tackle by a Houston defender he squared the ball off for Daniel Ríos who one touched it passed the Dynamo goalkeeper making it 1-0 to the home team.

The opening goal should have been a wakeup call for the Dynamo, but it seemed to inject Nashville with energy to counter attack quickly and often. Generally Nashville attacked with fewer players and still looked threatening going forward while Houston struggled to get their offensive players involved.

Houston began to look a little more invested on the offensive side of the ball with Darwin Cerén trying his luck from distance a couple of times and Manotas and Memo Rodríguez linking up, but the effort to find the back of the net was coming up short.

The Dynamo continued to pound away earning corner after corner interrupted briefly by some spells of possession by Nashville, but Houston eventually equalized. Following another corner the ball fell to Darwin Quintero back post. Quintero took a touch and played a floater back post which was headed into the net by Maynor Figueroa.

The final whistle would blow and the two sides would come away from their first ever meeting level at a goal apiece. It wasn’t a poor showing by the Dynamo, although a win would have lifted spirits following their midweek loss to Chicago. Still, the Dynamo lacked some creativity in the middle of the field with the team largely looking to counter attack and exploit space by Nashville. Credit to Nashville for taking that space away and for countering well, but the Dynamo kept knocking on the door for an equalizer until it finally opened before stoppage time.

Next up for the Dynamo is Sporting Kansas City back at home next weekend October 3rd at BBVA Stadium at 7:00 PM CT.

Goals:

49’ NSH: Daniel Ríos (assisted by Derrick Jones)

89’ HOU: Maynor Figueroa (assisted by Darwin Quintero)

Disciplinary:

75’ HOU: Adam Lundqvist (yellow card)

81; HOU: Nico Lemoine (yellow card)

Lineups:

Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundqvist (76’ Sam Junqua), Maynor Figueroa, Víctor Cabrera, Zarek Valentin; Memo Rodríguez, Matías Vera, Darwin Cerén (56’ Nico Lemoine); Darwin Quintero (90’+1’ Oscar Boniek García), Mauro Manotas, Ariel Lassiter

Nashville SC (4-2-3-1): Joe Willis; Daniel Lovitz, Dave Romney, Walker Zimmerman, Jalil Anibaba (68’ Alan Winn); Tah Anunga (59’ Aníbal Godoy), Dax McCarty; Randall Leal (76’ Taylor Washington), Hany Mukhtar, Alex Muyl (HT Derrick Jones); Daniel Ríos (59’ Alistair Johnston)