Houston Dynamo FC were looking to rebound from losses to two Texas teams which those losses typically sting a bit more than the regular ones as the team made its way to the East Coast to take on D.C. United at Audi Field hoping to get their second away win of the season. Unfortunately for the Dynamo, they were outplayed and fell 2-0 on the road.
D.C. United came out very aggressively with a high line and were pressuring the Dynamo deep into their half of the field. As a result the Dynamo struggled to get the ball out of their half and really string together passes due to them constantly having to clear the ball from danger which sent possession back to the home side.
As the game continued, the Dynamo began to somewhat find some chances in transition, but they often gave the ball up in poor areas that led to more possession by DC in Houston’s defensive third of the field. The defense was largely up to the task at pushing DC wide and making things easy for Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark, but the offense was relatively non-existent for the visitors.
The Dynamo finally had a close opportunity in the 23rd minute with a long ball being played over the top. Darwin Quintero tried to make a play on it, but it went behind to Sebastián Ferreira. The ball ended up going to DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid, but he spilled it to Quintero. Quintero dribbled around Hamid and his defender, but into a tough angle and eventually it went across goal and out. Quintero wanted a handball, but center official Jon Freemon was unmoved by the plea.
The close chance seemed to light a fire under the Dynamo as they began to finally seem to increase possession and look more dangerous inside DC’s half of the field. DC finally seemed to have lost some steam pressing which helped the visitors steal some momentum.
Despite some of the momentum looking to swing in Houston’s favor, the poor passing eventually set up DC for a couple of close chances that pushed them into getting the opening goal following a pair of corner kicks. After Coco Carrasquilla cleared one corner kick that set up another, Julian Gressel then delivered a ball back to the top of the 18 yard box to Taxiarchis Fountas who somehow beat Steve Clark just watching. 1-0 DC.
Things would go from bad to worse for the Dynamo in the 43rd minute with Brad Smith crossing the ball across Houston’s 18 yard box. It fell to Fountas who got around Adam Lundkvist who slipped on the field. Fountas launched a ball into the roof of the goal passed Clark and an onrushing Teenage Hadebe. 2-0 DC.
The Dynamo thought they had one final good chance before the break with Ferreira claiming a penalty, but DC would go into the half with the 2-0 lead. Despite being the better team, most of DC’s dominance was due to poor passing in the midfield by Houston along with rushed passing that gave the ball back to the home side. DC really didn’t test Clark too often, but poor marking on a corner and a defensive slip by Lundkvist allowed DC to hold the lead. Houston on the other hand struggled connecting with the offense and also didn’t test the DC goalkeeper.
The early portions of the second half were a little back and forth and a little more of what we had seen from the first half. DC pressed high and had a few chances to increase their lead, but Houston had found some room on the counter, but were unable to reduce the goal deficit 60 minutes in.
Fountas came close to completing his hat trick following a perfect cross by Edison Flores. It set up a header by Fountas which forced a diving save by Steve Clark to keep DC’s lead to just two instead of three.
The Dynamo thought they had a way back in the game after the 70th minute with the substitute Corey Baird attempting to play Sebas Ferreira through on goal. Sebas took his touch around Rafael Romo and was brought down in what would’ve been a penalty had the offside flag not gone up.
The changes that Head Coach Paulo Nagamura made seemed to help the team increase their chances, but with DC still pressing it was hard to get quality looks on goal. Clark nearly had a huge error as he bungled a clearance from the press, but thankfully the ball ended up under his feet and he was able to clear the ball safely.
Despite the late push, the final whistle would sound and the Dynamo would lose 2-0 at Audi Field. Credit DC for not getting stretched defensively and for pressing the Dynamo back line for nearly the full 90 minutes which allowed them to quickly win the midfield and regain possession. Houston’s defense was largely up to the task at making things hard for the DC offense, but the sheer quantity of opportunities DC had meant mistakes were inevitable.
The Houston Dynamo have a crowded upcoming week with a Wednesday US Open Cup matchup against San Antonio FC at PNC Stadium at 7:30 PM CT before returning to league action Saturday to face Nashville SC in Houston at 7:30 PM CT.
35’ DCU: Taxiarchis Fountas (assisted by Julian Gressel)
43’ DCU: Taxiarchis Fountas (assisted by Brad Smith)
45’+4’ HOU: Darwin Quintero (yellow card)
55’ DCU: Russell Canouse (yellow card)
87’ HOU: Adalberto Carrasquilla (yellow card)
90’+3’ DCU: Chris Durkin (yellow card)
90’+3’ HOU: Memo Rodríguez (yellow card)
Houston Dynamo (4-3-3): Steve Clark; Adam Lundkvist, Teenage Hadebe, Tim Parker, Zeca (85’ Sam Junqua); Adalberto Carrasquilla, Matías Vera (85’ Thiago), Darwin Quintero (67’ Memo Rodríguez); Tyler Pasher (67’ Thorleifur Úlfarsson), Sebastián Ferreira, Griffin Dorsey (68’ Corey Baird)
D.C. United (3-4-2-1): Bill Hamid (49’ Rafael Romo); Steve Birnbaum, Brad Smith, Brendan Hines-Ike; Donovan Pines, Sofiane Djeffal (67’ Chris Durkin), Russell Canouse, Julian Gressel (77’ Drew Skundrich); Taxiarchis Fountas (77’ Griffin Yow), Edison Flores; Michael Estrada (68’ Ola Kamara)