Houston Dynamo FC have been in an up and down form throughout a busy schedule and are coming off a midweek loss to the Seattle Sounders. The Dynamo took to the road to face the LA Galaxy at Dignity Health Sports Park and were looking to get a positive result and they found it. Houston came out aggressive to grab the first goal, weathered the backlash of pressure from LA, and bagged to more to win 3-0 away from PNC Stadium.
Early into the match was fast paced wit h Houston really pressing and quickly navigating through the midfield led by Memo Rodríguez as the playmaking midfielder setting up the offense although quality looks were a little too hasty and didn’t amount to much. LA also moved the ball up the field when they were in possession and had a very good chance to open the scoring before the 10th minute from a set piece play forcing a big save by Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark, but the play wouldn’t have counted with the offside flag going up.
Houston would get the opening goal in just the 11th minute with Teenage Hadebe winning the ball in the middle third of the field setting up a quick counter attack. Memo would pick out Corey Baird to go 1v1 on Galaxy goalkeeper Jonathan Bond however Baird’s shot was poor and right at Bond. The ball spilled out and fell to Sebastián Ferreira who flicked the ball over Bond and he beat a sliding defender to slot the ball into the net to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
The Galaxy would have their chances too despite the aggressive style of play from the Dynamo. LA was good at winning free kicks around the Houston 18 yard box, but also forced a few saves by Clark as the game went on.
The Dynamo had a chance to double their lead in the 24th minute with Thor Úlfarsson on the left wing sending a perfectly weighted cross towards the unmarked run of Corey Baird. Baird attempted to one touch it into the goal, but he wasn’t centered with the goal and his shot was well off target. The Galaxy had a few more dangerous looks to equalize coming from set pieces and corners, but Steve Clark was keeping Houston in the game.
The home side looked to slow things down as they increased their possession with the Dynamo sitting on their lead and content to take fewer risks going forward. LA continued to get corner kicks and set piece chances along with a few clever opportunities, but Clark and the defense did well to keep the Galaxy off the scoreboard.
Even with LA beginning to control things, the Dynamo came close again to finding the net on occasion notably following a throw in as Adam Lundkvist delivered an inch perfect cross to Sebas who flicked the ball on with his head, but it struck the crossbar. The Dynamo would go into halftime with the lead. The game plan of starting out aggressively, staying strong defensively with the lead, and picking out chances down the stretch was enough 45 minutes through for a 1-0 lead.
The second half began very much like much of the first with the Galaxy controlling the majority of the possession with Houston finding some space on the counter attack to push back. Baird had a slaloming run from the midfield in which he played a through ball to Sebas. Sebas, under pressure, squared the ball across goal to the run of Thor, but his shot went well over goal.
Not long after this blown opportunity, Dynamo Head Coach Paulo Nagamura had begun to make some tactical changes and they would pay off in a big way with substitute Tyler Pasher scoring a screamer to make it 2-0 Houston. Pasher made a run with the ball on the right wing and cut inside and from outside the 18 yard box hit a golazo.
In the 62nd minute Thor would redeem himself after missing what was essentially a sitter by scoring a masterful solo goal to put the Dynamo up 3-0 on the road. A good ball to the forward on the wing saw him take his defender on with a number of step-overs before ripping a ball into the net from a difficult angle.
The Son of Odin has arrived in Major League Soccer ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/rRSoZ8kk5L— Houston Dynamo FC (@HoustonDynamo) May 23, 2022
With the clock ticking towards 90, Nagamura continued to make defensive reinforcements to protect his lead. It was a similar strategy he utilized against Nashville SC which helped wear the game down with young players and substitutes being used to spring the counters and help spread the field while keeping numbers back to defend the lead. Pasher had an opportunity on one of these counters to make it 4-0, but his shot glanced wide.
After the final whistle blew the Dynamo would walk away with three points in a massive Western Conference victory. The goals were spectacular as was getting the clean sheet in a difficult place to play. Houston came out aggressive and then did well to manage the game to pick moments to increase their lead and pressure on the home side.
11’ HOU: Sebastián Ferreira
58’ HOU: Tyler Pasher (assisted by Sebastián Ferreira)
62’ HOU: Thor Úlfarsson (assisted by Sebastián Ferreira)
16’ HOU: Memo Rodríguez (yellow card)
62’ HOU: Thor Úlfarsson (yellow card)
65’ LAG: Nick DePuy (yellow card)
80’ HOU: Beto Avila (yellow card)
86’ HOU: Teenage Hadebe (yellow card)
56’ Tyler Pasher on, Corey Baird off
56’ Ethan Bartlow on, Memo Rodríguez off
70’ Daniel Steres on, Matías Vera off
70’ Beto Avila on, Thor Úlfarsson off
90’ Griffin Dorsey on, Zeca off
59’ Douglas Costa on, Víctor Vázquez off
59’ Derrick Williams on, Séga Coulibaly off
59’ Kévin Cabral on, Samuel Grandsir off
59’ Chicharito on, Dejan Joveljić off
69’ Chase Gasper on, Raheem Edwards off