We’ve seen it before and during the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, but sitting deep on a lead was back with the Houston Dynamo. After getting a goal in the first minute of the second half against the Colorado Rapids, the Dynamo sat deeper and more compressed which allowed the Rapids to dictate possession and got them space on the wings. Houston managed to counter to some level of success, but they weren’t able to convert and record an insurance goal. Instead the Rapids continued to pound away and eventually get an equalizer in the final minute of play.
Houston came out with a lot of energy and looked to get an opening goal quickly. Within the second minute after the ball pinged around players at the top of Colorado’s 18 yard box, it fell to the feet of Adam Lundqvist. Lundqvist tried to play the ball across goal, but it was tackled away for a corner kick.
Both sides exchanged some close efforts with the Dynamo trying their luck after Lundqvist earned a free kick, but the cheeky play to Tomás Martínez ended with the ball going well over the top of the goal. Colorado then took advantage of a poor giveaway by Wilfried Zahibo. Former Dynamo player Kei Kamara had players he could have passed to, but he took his space and fired a shot that rattled the crossbar.
Colorado had a golden chance to put the home side up just before the 20th minute. After a promising spell of possession in the Rapids’ half, a Darwin Cerén giveaway led to a counter attack that Kei Kamara almost buried. The Dynamo were slow to get back and Kamara ended up with what surely should have been a goal if it weren’t for the excellent save by Dynamo goalkeeper Marko Marić.
With the clock continuing to tick, Colorado’s confidence continued to grow with sloppy passing by Houston which allowed the home side to increase their possession and chances against the Dynamo. Sitting deeper didn’t help the Dynamo either which saw Colorado’s total possession swell to 63%.
The Dynamo started the second half perfectly by getting a quick goal a minute after the whistle. Memo Rodríguez got free on the right wing of the field and saw that Christian Ramirez had beaten his man. He played a ball to the center forward who tapped it low from a difficult angle to beat Colorado’s goalkeeper William Yarbrough.
In the 62nd minute the Rapids wanted a penalty. Kellyn Acosta found his way through into the 6 yard box and tried to poke the ball passed Marko Marić, but his last touch wasn’t good and he felt that there was contact on him as he went down. The replay didn’t show much contact if any and the referee said play on.
It was a nervous moment for Marko Marić before the 70th minute. After making a double save, it appeared that a Rapids player had kicked Marić in the head going for the ball. After getting a head wrap and some attention from the medical staff, he was ready to continue on.
The Dynamo nearly doubled their lead in the 75th minute after a corner kick. Darwin Quintero played his corner short and got the ball back quickly. He saw the run of Oscar Boniek García and played him through on goal. Boniek noticed the run of Ari Lassiter and played him through beautifully, but the recent Dynamo pickup had his shot just off target.
As the game wore on, the ending of the second half was eerily reminiscent of the ending of the first. The Dynamo got some chances on the counter and from corners, but largely sat back which let Colorado increase their possession and play on the wings.
After playing well the entire game, Marko Marić nearly gave the Rapids a sitter. On a corner in stoppage time, Marić rose up to claim the ball, but it slipped through his hands. The Rapids reacted, but Ari Lassiter was there to head the ball off the line and out of danger.
In the final minute of stoppage time the Rapids got a goal back from an unlikely source: Lalas Abubakar. After a corner was cleared to the middle of the field, the ball came to Sam Vines. Vines whipped a ball to the middle of the 18 yard box where Abubakar brought the ball down and beat Marić to tie the game up.
The equalizer felt like it was coming given how many chances the Rapids got near the end. This Dynamo team didn’t feel like the one that had just been on a three game winning streak. That team never sat back for extended stretches of time and punished other teams that sent too many players forward. This team relied on the heroics of Marić and the defense, but it was too much for them to keep the ball out.
Next up for the Dynamo is FC Dallas in Frisco, TX this Saturday, September 12th at 7:30 PM CT.
46’ HOU: Christian Ramirez (assisted by Memo Rodríguez)
90’+6’ COL: Lalas Abubakar (assisted by Sam Vines)
6’ COL: Lalas Abubakar (yellow card)
20’ COL: Jonathan Lewis (yellow card)
90’+2’ COL: Diego Rubio (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Adam Lundqvist, Víctor Cabrera (74’ Alejandro Fuenmayor), Kiki Struna, José Bizama; Tomás Martínez (58’ Darwin Quintero), Wilfried Zahibo (HT Oscar Boniek García), Darwin Cerén; Memo Rodríguez, Christian Ramirez (57’ Mauro Manotas), Niko Hansen (58’ Ariel Lassiter)
Colorado Rapids (4-2-3-1): William Yarbrough; Sam Vines, Auston Trusty, Lalas Abubakar, Keegan Rosenberry; Kellyn Acosta (84’ Nicolás Mezquida), Collen Warner (HT Jack Price); Jonathan Lewis (75’ Nicolas Benezet), Diego Rubio (75’ Cole Bassett), Younes Namli; Kei Kamara