Houston Dynamo FC looked to turn around a three league game losing streak utilizing the momentum gained in their US Open Cup win during the week with Nashville SC visiting PNC Stadium. Houston Dynamo put together a masterful effort in their 2-0 win in a game that emphasized a lot of quick passing through the midfield. Even after Houston went down a man in the first half, the Dynamo were able to hold on and get not just the win, but a shutout.
Houston came out very aggressively as they looked to set the tone of the game early with Darwin Quintero, Fafà Picault, and Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla all pushing up, passing quickly through the midfield which helped the Dynamo earn a corner in just the first minute. Nashville on the other hand were more patient, but given their more attacking minded formation were able to get numbers forward.
Thor Úlfarsson got the start for Dynamo Head Coach Paulo Nagamura and helped earn Houston a corner kick in the 7th minute. After winning possession on the wing, Thor attempted to thread the ball through to a wide open Picault, but it was intercepted and cleared out by Nashville defender Sean Davis for another early corner. Houston was unable to take full advantage of the set piece chance and Nashville was quick to counter. A minute after the Dynamo had a corner, Thor was back on the other end of the ball and made a great defensive play for a center forward giving the visitors their first corner.
The action continued, but the game remained scoreless, this time with Quintero picking Nashville midfielder Dax McCarty’s pocket in a great position. McCarty wanted a foul on the play, but Quintero didn’t control the ball well in front of goal taking too many touches and missing a wide open Memo Rodríguez.
The opening goal felt like it was coming for the home side and it finally came in the 16th minute. Memo played a good through ball to Quintero who back heeled it back to Memo. Memo fired a shot that was saved by Nashville goalkeeper and former Dynamo player Joe Willis. However it wasn’t cleared from danger and Coco Carrasquilla was there to find the net. 1-0 Houston.
The Dynamo had a good opportunity to double their lead just 10 minutes later, this time beginning with a counter attack led by Quintero. Quintero got free down the right wing and got into the Nashville 18 yard box. He played the ball across goal to Thor who mishit the ball with his more dominant right foot when he should’ve got the tap in with his left foot.
Despite the promising first half, the Dynamo would be tested after Adam Lundkvist picked up a straight red card for a dangerous tackle on Alex Muyl. After a pretty long check by center official Ramy Touchan with the VAR official and the video monitor, the call was upheld which turned the game into what was a free flowing game into a physical one.
The Dynamo would go into the half with the lead and didn’t look overwhelmed despite Nashville now having a man advantage. Houston did well to possess while Picault, Memo, and Quintero were clearly not ready to park the bus as they helped spread the field which kept some of the Nashville defenders from joining in on the offense.
In the first minute of the second half, Darwin Quintero read a pass going back well and did just enough to get in front of his defender Jack Maher who brought Quintero resulting in a free kick on the edge of Nashville’s 18 yard box. Quintero stood over the ball and sent in a dangerous ball that was saved by Joe Willis.
Houston would get their second goal, this time coming from the penalty spot. Some fantastic passing out of the midfield saw Quintero play Picault a well weighted through ball to go 1v1 with Willis. Picault took his touch around Willis, but – in what looked extremely close – appeared to bring down Picault resulting in center referee Ramy Touchan pointing to the spot. Despite the pleas and it looking very close, Touchan was confident in his decision and Quintero nailed the penalty.
Nashville came close to getting a goal back not long after coming from a corner kick. Taylor Washington delivered a great ball into the box intended for C.J. Sapong who struck the top of the crossbar.
With a two goal lead, Paulo Nagamura made some more defensive changes to try and withstand any pushback by the visitors. The result was increased possession in the Dynamo defensive third of the field by Nashville along with a mounting number of corners.
Picault came close adding a third goal for the home side just after the 70th minute. From the counter, Memo was given the ball with space in front of him and took his space deep into Nashville’s half of the field. He attempted to play Picault on goal, but the ball was slightly behind him and took Picault away from goal, but he was able to take some time off the clock on the play.
After 90 minutes plus stoppage time the Dynamo outlasted the visitors. Houston came out aggressive and even though they went down a man, they managed to keep the ball moving by keeping the field stretched and that led to another goal. Nashville came back as Nagamura went to a more defensive formation, but even then the Dynamo began to win the ball back which frustrated the away side who looked winded and not focused down the stretch.
In a short turn around for the Dynamo, they’ll be back in action when they take on the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday May 18th at 7:30 PM CT at PNC Stadium.
16’ HOU: Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla
53’ HOU: Darwin Quintero (penalty)
35’ HOU: Adam Lundkvist (red card)
42’ HOU: Teenage Hadebe (yellow card)
42’ HOU: Steve Clark (yellow card)
45’+1’ NSH: Eric Miller (yellow card)
46’ NSH: Jack Maher (yellow card)
49’ HOU: Darwin Quintero (yellow card)
86’ NSH: Ethan Zubak (yellow card)
90’+1’ NSH: Walker Zimmerman (yellow card)
40’ Sam Junqua on, Thor Úlfarsson off
58’ Ethan Bartlow on, Darwin Quintero off
79’ Griffin Dorsey on, Zeca off
79’ Beto Avila on, Memo Rodríguez off
79’ Tyler Pasher on, Fafà Picault off
46’ Harry Mukhtar on, Alex Muyl off
64’ Walker Zimmerman on, David Romney off
64’ C.J. Sapong off, Aké Loba on
65’ Daniel Lovitz on, Taylor Washington off
79’ Handwalla Bwana on, Luke Haakenson off