Coming off an international break, Houston Dynamo FC hoped to close out their penultimate game as they traveled to Geodis Park to face Nashville SC. Houston has been very much a team in transition this season, but they hoped to finish their final road game strong against the 5th best team in the Western Conference. The Dynamo capitalized well in the first half and largely managed the second half with success despite a late push by Nashville in the 2-1 win for Houston.
The first few minutes were pretty sloppy by both teams with each side looking to find their rhythm. The ball often bounced around from one half of the field to the other and to one team to the other. Houston looked a little more aggressive with their posture, but Nashville began to find their footing as they increased their pressure making it more difficult for the visitors to get the ball out of their half and keep possession. Still, the increased pressure helped the Dynamo find room to counter attack on occasion, but they were unable to capitalize on some breakaways.
Dynamo Captain Tim Parker had an injury scare after colliding with teammate Griffin Dorsey’s elbow resulting in Parker to go through concussion protocols. After a quick medical check, Parker returned to the field. A few minutes later a poor touch by Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla resulted in a very quick counter attack by the home side that nearly set up a tap in goal, but Teenage Hadebe was able block the cross out for a corner kick.
The counter attack awoke something in Nashville with the home team nearly finishing a pair of chances before the 23rd minute. Some great movement from left to right set up Hany Mukhtar who tried to one touch it passed Houston goalkeeper Steve Clark, but the league’s top scorer was off the mark. Not long after that a well placed cross into the box had Randall Neal take a touch and rifle one wide of goal.
The closest chance of the game this far came in the 25th minute following a challenge on Corey Baird in the box and Nashville hit the counter with no whistle being blown. Clark attempted to head the ball from danger outside of his 18 yard box, but it fell right to Mukhtar who attempted to chip the veteran keeper. The effort looked destined for goal, but it struck the underside of the crossbar and was cleared.
With the ball out of play there was a quick check at VAR to see if the challenge on Baird by Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman was a foul. A couple minutes later the center official pointed to the penalty spot, ruling that it was indeed a foul by Zimmerman. Sebastián Ferreira stepped up and beat former Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis.
SEBAS CONVERTS— Houston Dynamo FC (@HoustonDynamo) October 3, 2022
WE’RE AHEAD IN NASHVILLE pic.twitter.com/Y21j0Pmkgm
The Dynamo weren’t done running up the score before halftime. Darwin Quintero read the touch by David Romney near the half line and dispossessed the defender. A great run down into the box saw him pick out Sebas Ferreira. Sebas took a touch around Joe Willis and coolly weighted his shot into the corner to make it 2-0 to the visitors.
Nashville came out aggressive, hungry to get a goal back to remain competitive for a positive result. Their high press saw them possess more in the Dynamo defensive third of the field. After a few minutes into the second half Houston began to exploit space on the counter attack with Nashville pushed as high as they were. A few great crosses in by Dorsey, Quintero, and Coco came close to the visitors increasing their lead, but they couldn’t capitalize.
Sebas nearly completed his hat trick before the 64th minute with Hadebe springing the counter attack to Coco Carrasquilla. Coco read the run of Sebas Ferreira and played him in. After taking the ball towards goal, he took his shot far post, but Joe Willis made a huge save on the play to deny the center forward a third goal.
The home side increased their possession and high line with the Dynamo sitting deeper and making defensive minded substitutions to force Nashville wide while clogging passing lanes in the middle of the pitch. Nashville remained prone to turnovers which created some close chances for the Dynamo to increase their goal tally again coming in transition.
Just before stoppage time, Aké Loba nearly gave Nashville a goal on the board. A fantastic through ball saw Loba make a run behind Tim Parker, but Steve Clark was able to snatch the ball out from Loba’s feet to keep it 2-0.
There was some late drama before the final whistle blew with Teenage Hadebe picking up a second yellow card for a poor challenge on substitute Luke Haakenson. After getting sent off, Nashville pulled a goal back against the 10 man Dynamo with Walker Zimmerman heading in a corner kick.
After full time, the Dynamo still struggled to create for themselves outside of the counter attack, but the way Nashville was playing, the counter attack continued to open itself up. Mistakes late and a big push by the Nashville nearly saw a late collapse, but Houston ended up walking out with the total three points on the road.
The Houston Dynamo will play their final game of the 2022 campaign next Sunday on October 9th at 4:00 PM CT against the LA Galaxy at PNC Stadium.
30’ HOU: Sebastián Ferreira (penalty)
39’ HOU: Sebastián Ferreira (assisted by Darwin Quintero)
90’+6’ NSH: Walker Zimmerman (assisted by Daniel Lovitz)
48’ HOU: Teenage Hadebe (yellow card)
90’+3’ NSH: Teal Bunbury (yellow card)
90’+4’ HOU: Teenage Hadebe (second yellow/red card)
57’ Héctor Herrera on, Darwin Quintero off
71’ Nelson Quiñónes on, Corey Baird off
71’ Sam Junqua on, Sebastián Ferreira off
90’ Thor Úlfarsson on, Fafà Picault off
90’ Darwin Cerén on, Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla off
64’ Teal Bunbury on, C.J. Sapong off
74’ Luke Haakenson on, Dax McCarty off
85’ Aké Loba on, Jacob Shaffelburg off
85’ Taylor Washington on, David Romney off