Houston Dynamo FC returned to league action following an international break as they traveled to the Sunshine State to take on Orlando City SC at Exploria Stadium. Although they played a more exciting and competitive second half, Orlando was the better side overall and took all three points in the 2-1 loss for the Dynamo.
Orlando City began the match in a high gear as they attempted to put the pressure on the visiting Dynamo very early often winning the ball and quickly transitioning to offense with passes over the top. The Dynamo struggled to combine in the opening minutes surrendering possession back to the home side, but defensively, Houston goalkeeper Steve Clark helped settle things down by making the plays to keep Orlando off the score board.
After weathering the early pressure by Orlando, Houston began to find some ground in the game as they increased their possession and were able to push the home side back some. Sebastián Ferreira got the ball in a good spot and was able to lay the ball off to the onrushing Memo Rodríguez who took a shot from distance, but his shot was easily saved by Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese.
As the game went on, it became increasingly physical with a number of fouls being called in the midfield and cards being shown. Following Houston’s push for more possession, Orlando seemed to find their way back into the game forcing the Dynamo to make hard fouls to slow the pace of the match down.
Orlando would end up with the game’s opening goal in the 25th minute following some technical combinations from the home side. A great flick on by Mauricio Pereyra put Facundo Torres in on goal and his side footed “shot” ended up going wide but ended up to the sliding Ercan Kara who put the ball passed Steve Clark to make it 1-0.
The Dynamo began to unravel following the goal and nearly conceded a penalty before halftime. Zeca handled a cross and center official Rosendo Mendoza initially pointed at the spot. After a quick consoltation with VAR, it was clear the handled ball occurred outside the 18 yard box so a free kick was given and the penalty was overturned. Ercan Kara stood over the set piece and forced a low, difficult save by Clark to keep the Dynamo deficit at just one goal.
Houston came out more aggressively in the second half and had a good opportunity to equalize the game just two minutes into the half. Adam Lundkvist played a good ball to the overlapping run of Memo who sent a low cross that could’ve been tapped in, but there weren’t any Dynamo players to get on the end of it.
Memo missed a sitter after a great combination of a series of layoffs which saw him just a few yards from goal, but he pulled his effort wide. Even with momentum beginning to swing their way, it would be the home side to pull ahead, but only briefly. In the 58th minute a cross was sent in to Mauricio Pereyra who took a shot, but it ended up coming off Kara who ended up with credit for the goal in the end.
Even though the second goal could’ve been deflating, the Dynamo were able to respond brillantily with Zeca playing a long cross to the head of Ferreira. The headed effort was enough and well placed to put the Dynamo back within one just one minute after Orlando doubled their lead.
Both sides had some good moments to get on the score sheet, but it appeared the Dynamo had increased their momentum and had more of the chances in the second half with substitute Tyler Pasher leading the way having a pair of very close opportunities.
Houston thought they had earned a penalty with Thorleifur Úlfarsson bringing down a cross perfectly and going at goal before appearing to go down. The center official didn’t blink giving the rookie a yellow card for simulation and upon replay it was clearly the correct decision.
Halftime substitute Darwin Quintero nearly got Houston a point in stoppage time with a wonderful overhead kick, but he was ruled to be in an offside position ultimately. The final whistle would blow and Houston would lose on the road 2-1 to Orlando in what was probably a fair result. The Dynamo came out flat, too defensive, and let a team that had played earlier in the week press them early while Houston lacked creativity in the middle and final thirds of the field. Second half adjustments made a big difference and made for an entertaining, fast paced half, but it wasn’t enough with Orlando taking all three points in this one.
The Dynamo will return home next weekend to take on the Chicago Fire at PNC Stadium on June 25th at 7:00 PM CT.
25’ OCSC: Ercan Kara (assisted by Facundo Torres)
58’ OCSC: Ercan Kara (assisted by Mauricio Pereyra)
59’ HOU: Sebastián Ferreira (assisted by Zeca)
14’ OCSC: Robin Jannson (yellow card)
16’ HOU: Memo Rodríguez (yellow card)
20’ HOU: Adam Lundkvist (yellow card)
21’ HOU: Matías Vera (yellow card)
32’ HOU: Zeca (yellow card)
39’ OCSC: Mauricio Pereyra (yellow card)
44’ HOU: Teenage Hadebe (yellow card)
64’ OCSC: Pedro Gallese (yellow card)
87’ HOU: Thorleifur Úlfarsson (yellow card)
46’ Daniel Steres on, Tim Parker off
46’ Darwin Quintero on, Beto Avila off
65’ Darwin Cerén on, Matías Vera off
65’ Tyler Pasher on, Corey Baird off
79’ Thorleifur Úlfarsson on, Ethan Bartlow off
Orlando City SC:
65’ Benji Michel on, Jake Mulraney off
69’ Andrés Perea on, Júnior Urso off
79’ Tesho Akindele on, Facundo Torres off
79’ Sebas Méndez on, Mauricio Pereyra off
79’ Alexandre Pato on, Ercan Kara off