Fresh off the international break, Houston Dynamo FC were looking to find a win away from BBVA Stadium when they took on LAFC. In the last matchup with LAFC this season, the game ended in a 1-1 draw, and the same happened this evening. LAFC looked the stronger side for the majority of the game, but Houston’s defense kept them in it. After conceding first, the Dynamo made some adjustments and quickly answered not long after the opening goal.
The early minutes of the game saw both sides come out with a lot of energy and both pressuring with high lines. Tyler Pasher squared a pass in the box and almost picked out Maxi Urruti, but it was well read by the defense and cut out. Not long after Corey Baird tried his luck following a counter, but it was too high to challenge Dynamo goalkeeper Marko Marić.
As the game progressed, the Dynamo relied a little more on the counter attack to find space with LAFC playing a high line which had some good runs, but were well defended by the home team. LAFC alternatively was effective at controlling possession and earning set pieces.
LAFC nearly had the opening goal in the 34th minute. Poor defending by Sam Junqua got Carlos Vela free on the wing with acres of space around him. Players rushed into the box and Vela found Mark-Anthony Kaye, but the one touch shot was poorly hit and went over the top of goal. The home side began to find their rhythm with Houston dug in their own half. They won possession back in great positions and began to rack up the number of chances, but the Dynamo were able to keep LAFC off the scoreboard.
The two sides would go into halftime locked at nil, nil. Houston had defended as well as one can against a great offensive oriented team, but they struggled to build up play out of the back and relied on finding space from the counter. The issue they had was they had so many players back defending that they didn’t have anyone to knock the ball up the field to which gave LA the ball back and it resulted in them failing to register a single shot over the first 45 minutes.
5 minutes into the second half, LA would get the opening goal. José Cifuentes fired a shot from distance forcing Marić to lift it over the top earning LAFC a corner kick. On the corner, the ball somehow went through everyone and found an unmarked Cifuentes who easily put it into the net.
LA wouldn’t keep the lead for long though. 8 minutes later Fafà Picault found space on the counter attack. Somehow getting through two defenders he squared a pass to the middle of the box. Maxi Urruti got the ball and nearly had it stuck under his feet. Urruti, through traffic, was able to put the ball in the low corner of the net passed LAFC goalkeeper Pablo Sisniega.
Carlos Vela earned a free kick at the top of the Dynamo 18 yard box and Eduard Atuesta tried his luck. Marić made a great save and pushed the ball away from danger.
The game opened up for both sides as the game ticked on. Dynamo substitutes Joe Corona and Darwin Quintero provided added – and needed – creativity to the offense. LAFC took some of their important attacking players off, but still were able to find success through the midfield up to the attacking third.
Diego Rossi nearly put LA up in the 86th minute following a terrific through ball by Bryce Duke, but the shot was right at the Dynamo goalkeeper. In stoppage time a great combination of passing by LA ended up with Rossi trying his luck again, this time a curled effort from inside the box, but it was just too high.
The Dynamo had a breakaway at the end of stoppage time with Ari Lassiter combining with Quintero and Picault well with only a few defenders in front of them, but it ended with Quintero trying to go through the defenders resulting in a easily cleared ball.
The final whistle would blow and the Dynamo would escape from LA with a point which is a more acceptable finish especially with a double game week coming up. Overall, the defending was good, but they need to possess better and quit giving the ball away so easily. They adjusted pretty well in the second half to open things up, but they could have conceded more too.
Next up for the Dynamo is a short turnaround with the Dynamo headed back to BBVA Stadium to take on the Portland Timbers Wednesday June 23 at the much more reasonable time of 7:30 PM CT.
50’ LAFC: José Cifuentes (assisted by Carlos Vela)
58’ HOU: Maxi Urruti (assisted by Fafà Picault)
17’ HOU: Tim Parker (yellow card)
30’ HOU: Matías Vera (yellow card)
71’ HOU: Fafà Picault (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Marko Marić; Sam Junqua, Maynor Figueroa, Tim Parker, Zarek Valentin; Derrick Jones (89’ Darwin Cerén), Matías Vera, Memo Rodríguez (55’ Joe Corona), Tyler Pasher (59’ Darwin Quintero) Maxi Urruti (89’ Ariel Lassiter), Fafà Picault
LAFC (4-3-3): Pablo Sisniega; Marco Farfan, Eddie Segura, Jesús David Murillo, Tristan Blackman (78’ Kim Moon-Hwan); Mark-Anthony Kaye (HT Bryce Duke), Eduard Atuesta, José Cifuentes; Diego Rossi, Corey Baird (64’ Raheem Edwards), Carlos Vela (64’ Cal Jennings)