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Three Observations from the Houston Dynamo’s win over the Vancouver Whitecaps

The Dynamo played very well for the majority of the game, but a brief individual mistake led to a comeback that the Dynamo successfully weathered. 

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

The Houston Dynamo bounced back from their loss against the Colorado Rapids with sound strategy and a deserved three points at BBVA Stadium against the Vancouver Whitecaps in their 2-1 win this past Saturday. Here are a few of my brief thoughts from the win, but mostly I’m happy that the Dynamo have surprised me this season with their form specifically at home.

1) The Dynamo were absolutely in control of this game for the majority of the match with the exception of the end – more on that later. I think my favorite tactic was their use of the full backs and long through balls which stretched the Whitecaps’ defense. This made the defensive line stay deeper rather than pushing higher into the midfield which gave the Dynamo a numbers advantage on Vancouver’s offensive possessions in the midfield and the Dynamo defensive midfield. The result allowed the Dynamo to win back possession often, even though Vancouver controlled that category with just over 60%. Overall, the Dynamo’s ability to win back possession and to quickly play the ball in transition supported their offensive goals and satisfied their defensive objectives. The Whitecaps were also visibly upset with themselves for a large chunk of this game too which means you’re frustrating them going forward and shutting them down in the back. That’s a job well done.

2) The individual errors that led to Vancouver’s late goal need to be minimized in the future. The backward pass to Oscar Boniek García should not have been played given how often we saw poor touches and that is not the spot to risk it. Just clear it, reset the defense, and move on. Still, it was a poor touch by Boniek and he can’t be totally absolved just because the field was slick. Even though the Whitecaps really made a push for an equalizer, too many chances if we’re being honest, the Dynamo were able to survive and walk away with the win. Sometimes these nail biting finishes can keep teams humble going forward and instructive about finishing other chances. Speaking off…

3) Tab has to be a little down on the team for not finishing off some of their chances which would’ve made for the final ten minutes and stoppage time a lot easier on us fans. They did very well to get forward and create shots, but with two goals and only three shots on target, this team has shown a struggle to create quality chances. Make no mistake, this team has improved from last season defensively and in the midfield – likely up front too at least given their record, but the offense has to step up its game. Early into the season, the Dynamo have surpassed my personal expectations, but they have shown trouble creating that final pass or touch to really go at the goal. Maybe they need more time since Urruti, Fafa, and Pasher are all new. But if they want to compete they will have to step up their shot creation.