A busy weekend of soccer is complete and we’ve made it to Monday. It’s time for another edition of Breakfast Links.
The Houston Dynamo returned to league play on Saturday night but were unable to complete the 2nd half come back, falling 2-1 to Orlando City SC. The team and fans are disappointed to say the least to not walk away from that one with no points to show for their efforts. It can be argued that the Dynamo deserved a point in this one, but they came out too flat in the first half only producing a lowly 0.17 xG in the first 45 minutes.
We saw no Darwin Quintero in the starting lineup and that certainly raised more than a few eyebrows. Quintero is extremely pivotal to this club and when he isn’t on the field you can see the lack of production overall. The fact he didn’t start and created once he came on, leaves one to wonder what the reasoning behind the decision was. Ethan Bartlow started and put in a 79 min shift at defensive midfield. The Dynamo have dabbled with that setup a few times when they switch for defensive purposes, but it was a tough night overall having to play from behind.
Ercan Kara feasted all match long causing problems for the Dynamo, with 5 shots and 2 goals (25th minute and 58th minute) as FotMobs’s man of the match. The Dynamo only registered a 0.72 xG to Orlando’s 3.21 xG for the match and must do better creating and finishing chances with too many wasted opportunities and possession lost. The game plan was to come out aggressive but the fouls that were being committed were foolhardy and deserved most of the yellow cards that were received. The Dynamo had 5 yellow cards by halftime leaving themselves not only playing from behind, but also having to play the remainder of the game extremely carefully and not as aggressive as they might have been without the collection of yellow cards.
Credit where it’s due, the first half didn’t pan out, but course corrections were made by coach Paulo Nagamura that had the team playing much more cohesive soccer after the break with a 0.55 xG. They’d certainly have their chances but only Sebastian Ferreira was able to capitalize and pull one back in the 59th minute. Zeca got his first MLS assist to Sebas and the goal was a beauty. Zeca sent in a cross that had a bit of pace to it and Sebas was able to send his fade-away glancing header just inside the left post, impressively beating keeper Pedro Gallese for his 6th goal of the season and 7th in all competitions.
With all the opportunities in the 2nd half, the Dynamo were unable to find that finishing product for an equalizing goal. This match could have had a very different outcome, but the club remains positive and moving forward. They will be back at it next Saturday, June 25th, at home against Chicago Fire and will be looking to keep the boat afloat until Hector Herrera makes his debut.
The Houston Dash picked up a big three points on the road in an absolute shootout against the North Carolina Courage on Sunday afternoon. The Dash are now in 4th place, 1 point behind Chicago and 2 points above OL Reign. Maria Sanchez started up top with Shea Groom and had herself a day. This was her best game of the season, and she was finally able to fully unleash in an attacking position. She was FotMob’s player of the match, registering a 9.1 rating on her way to collecting a beauty of a goal (15th minute) and 2 assists as well. She had 62 total touches on the afternoon and found herself in the right spot asking the right questions providing and creating chances all match long.
Elizabeth Eddy registered a 9.0 player rating picking up her first career brace (47th minute and 50th minute) helping to attribute to the onslaught of action where the match saw 5 goals scored in a 13-minute span to start the 2nd half. Nichelle Prince was active on the combo play and ever dangerous on the ball, per usual. Prince capped off the scoring in the 51st minute with the 3rd Dash goal scored after the 2nd half began.
With the score 4-1 Dash, the Courage never gave up and certainly made things interesting scoring twice as part of 2nd half fireworks. Diana Ordonez was dangerous all match as well, scoring in the 57th minute to spark their rally. That was followed almost immediately by North Carolina courage midfielder Debinha scoring in the 59th minute to really put the pressure on the Dash. They Courage out shot the Dash 16-8 for the match and created a massive 5 big chances to 1 for the Dash. The Dash would have to hold on to the one goal lead for the final 30+ minutes of the match. The Courage continued to pour on the attack, trying to find one more breakthrough to salvage a point. The Dash were able to dig deep, in a complete team effort and take all 3 points on the road.
Every starting field player registered a player rating of at least 7.1 and quality performances were all over the field in this monumental win. The Dash have now taken 11 points from a possible 15 when playing on the road. This starts the break for the Dash on a high note and they’ll be back in action on July 1st at home against the Kansas City Current.
Houston Dynamo 2 were extremely unlucky once again, allowing the Portland Timbers 2 to score 2 goals in the waning minutes of the match to steal the win on the road. Jacob Evans was fouled in the box in the first half, as his quick footed move caused the defender to make too much contact sending Jacobs down in the penalty area. Papa N’Doye would strike from the spot and give the Dynamo 2 the early lead in the 15th minute. They have, by design, tried to come out and create early chances and get the lead so they can play from in the lead instead of having to chase the whole game.
The game plan worked well, but in the 80th minute Dawson McCartney would level the game for Portland 2 with a diving header. Coming off a short goal kick that gave possession right back to Portland, they would make Houston pay. A momentary lapse in communication between Xavier Valdez and the midfielders would lead to the game being tied. Just before the final whistle, Zac McGraw would get on the end of a cross into the box and bury it to take the late and dramatic win for Portland 2.
Dynamo 2 will be dissatisfied with the result, as they have been the last 2 matches. They played a good game over all and were again unlucky not to take the win here, especially after leading the match for over 65 minutes. Dynamo 2 will be back in action on June 26 for a home match against Tacoma Defiance.
Major League Soccer
Real Salt Lake Faced off against the San Jose Earthquakes and were able to grab the win, 2-0. The match saw goals from Marcelo Silva in the 22nd minute and Jefferson Savarino in the 81st minute, to give Salt Lake all 3 points. They now have 28 points on the season, good for 2nd in the western conference standings, just 2 points below LAFC.
Speaking of which, LAFC battled it out against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday afternoon. The game ended in a 1-1 draw with LAFC failing to capitalize and extend their lead in the West. Albert Rusnak (FotMob’s man of the match) opened the scoring in the 58th minute. It would take until the 79th minute before LAFC would finally find the equalizer, from forward Cristian Arango. LAFC hold a 2-point lead over Salt Lake in the West and Seattle have begun their climb from the early season hole to 7th place in the Western Conference.