Welcome in, welcome back for another exciting edition of, Dynamo 2sday, where we talk all things Dynamo 2. You can get your coverage anywhere, but you’re here with us and we appreciate you for it. We strive to bring you the best coverage around, backed by a small group of like-minded individuals that have unrivaled passion for this organization and the entire community. It’s been an absolute oven out there recently, blasting 100-degree temperatures from the coast to the panhandle all month long. There is plenty to be excited about coming from Dynamo 2 this weekend so let’s get right to it.
Houston Dynamo 2 took on the Real Monarchs for a home match in the sweltering Texas heat on Sunday night. We have heard head coach Kenny Bundy speak on the fact that this team is primed to put out a quality stretch of matches and we are starting to see that come to fruition. Dynamo 2 exploded in an astonishing display of dominance in front of a charged home crowd, winning their second game in a row at home.
The game plan was as always, to come out early and bring the pressure quickly to try to grab an early lead, so they can operate with the advantage. The plan could not have been drawn up any better as an early corner from Marcelo Palomino eventually found its way to the feet of Mujeeb Murana. He would make no mistake, turning and firing past the Monarchs goalkeeper and giving Dynamo 2 the early lead that they wanted in the 14th minute. This was the fourth time this season Dynamo 2 were able to score within the first fifteen minutes, so we can see that gameplan is being executed well to this point of the season.
Real Monarchs would tie the match up in the 23rd minute on a goal by midfielder Pedro Fonseca. Dynamo 2 were unfazed by the equalizer and stuck to their game plan, creating chances at a high rate. The defense played extremely well and kept the box clean and free of danger for most of the match. As the sun went down in the second half, Dynamo 2 kept the heat on the pitch with three goals scored in a five-minute span, decimating the Monarchs, and picking them apart, pass by pass. In the 58th minute, Talen Maples won an aerial duel that found its way directly to Brooklyn Raines. Raines played a beautifully sharp pass across the top of the box and found Jacob Evans on the top-left side of the box. Evans took one touch toward goal and released a thumping right-footed shot past the Monarchs keeper to give Dynamo 2 the lead. Evans, whose family was at the match, said about his goal, “Yeah, it’s been a long time coming, so yeah, it was a massive weight off my shoulders to finally get the first goal. No feeling like it, you know what I mean? So yeah, just loved every second of it. I need to work on the celebration, but apart from that it was a spot on.”
Three minutes later, Kyle Edwards would draw a penalty with some quick footwork and be rewarded with the chance to take the penalty kick. He crushed it with his right foot into the left corner of the net, sending the Monarchs keeper in the other direction, adding to the onslaught of goals scored in the 2nd half. Edwards has proven to be a dangerous talent and has now scored in back-to-back weeks.
Another three minutes ticked off the game clock and Edwards would again find himself involved in the action, but this time as the creator of the chance. Jacob Evans won back possession in the defensive third and made one quick pass out to Edwards, who was found sprinting down the right side of the pitch. It appeared Edwards might lose possession for just a moment when the defender got a touch on the ball, but Edwards impressively poked it right back away and he was gone, past the defender and looking to get into a dangerous position. He picked his head up and found newcomer Isaiah Leflore all alone at the top of the box on the other side of the field. The pass was one of extreme difficulty, but Edwards put it on a dime. LeFlore took a few touches and smashed a no doubter, sending his first attempt on goal as a Dynamo 2 player into the back of the net to cap off the impressive three goal spree in the second half. “I can’t even describe it,” LeFlore said after the match about his goal in his debut. “It was a great feeling. I had a hunch I was going to play winger and I played there back in the day a little bit, and I had a funny feeling for the game. I just felt super energized and I kind of had a feeling I was going to score and I did and I’m super happy. But more importantly happy we won.”
Other than being tied for a short time in the first half, the game was never even close. Dynamo 2 have really started to find that next level of play and are consistently a threat on both sides of the field, regardless of who is in the lineup. The back line played extremely well throughout the game helping hold the Monarchs to just one shot on goal, which just happened to be their goal. The defense held Real Monarchs to just two crosses and neither were successful. Captain and team leader, Talen Maples unsurprisingly played all 90 minutes and continues to be among the league leaders in minutes this season. Maples is a calming force on the field, and he can do it all; defend, score, and even remind players who are on a yellow that they need to remember to be smart and stop giving the official a reason to think about it. He is “the glue that binds” and this team responds well to his leadership.
Mujeeb Murana put in an electrifying 90-minute shift. He scored and won thirteen duels (60%), which was the most on the team. Micael has been better every time out and has really started to find his footing here in the 8 games he has played for Dynamo 2, starting every match since his arrival. Jathan Juarez started out in the left back position, as we know he can play wherever he is needed and is extremely consistent in all those positions. He played all 90 minutes in this one, completing a fantastic 93.3% of his passes and winning 9 duels. Juarez is so fast on the ball and can cut with precision, leaving defenders off balance, and trying to stay on their feet (unsuccessfully for the Monarchs winger who fell trying to keep up).
In the midfield, young phenom Brooklyn Raines started on the right with Marcelo Palomino “The Truth” on the left and Juan Castilla “The hand that guides” in the middle. I have said it before but having this trio in the midfield is a major advantage for Dynamo 2, as all of them rank highly in creating chances, completing passes, and are a nightmare to deal with on any sort of set piece. This is by design, to be extremely competitive with a sense of urgency, but also accuracy in and around the midfield. Raines played all 90 minutes with an insane 94.7% of his passes being completed. Palomino put in 68 minutes and completed an excellent 90.7% of his passes in another impressive performance, to go along with his 9 duels won (63%). He did not get credit for the assist, but he did put a cross into a dangerous area that ended in a goal for Dynamo 2. Castilla played well in his 74 minutes. He won 7 duels at an impressive 71.4% and was heavily involved all match long. Juan continues to improve his game and the trio of young midfielders is great to see.
Up top, Dynamo 2 came out with the always dangerous Jacob Evans, with Papa N’Doye (feared by all caught by none) on his right and Thiago on his left. Evans had himself a day, scoring his first professional goal and putting in a solid 74 minutes. Often finding himself in a dangerous position, he completed 84% of his passes, had 3 shots, won 5 duels, and registered 0.48 expected goals. N’Doye played 54 minutes, completing 76.9% of his passes and winning 5 duels.
We saw some of the depth this team possesses on Sunday with substitutes like Edwards, D’Alessandro Herrera, Diego Gonzalez, Paulo Lima and newly acquired Isaiah LeFlore, who scored on his first shot on target. All the subs came on and made an impact, the level of play never dipped, and the depth is encouraging to see.
Bundy spoke after the match about the team’s performance. “The goal, every game, is to try and score in the first 20 minutes,” he said. “If you can put a team under pressure by scoring an early goal, I think you have a real advantage and momentum going into the end of the first half and then even the second half. We scored and then we make a mistake. And it’s funny because everybody makes mistakes. Some are small, some are big. That mistake cost us a goal and I was a little bit disappointed in the reaction from the boys after that mistake. I didn’t feel like they really pushed it aside. I felt like it dragged on until the end of the half, and at halftime I really challenged them. If it were nil-nil at halftime, going in 0-0, I think the mentality would have been different. ‘Okay, we’re going to go and get this result.’ So I really challenged them to make sure that they understand that mistakes happen, and now it’s up to us to put that effort in and really, really execute the game plan. So (their response was) really important.”
With this trouncing of Real Monarchs 4-1, Dynamo 2 now have 30 points on the season, good for fourth place in the Western Conference standings. St. Louis City 2 are in first place currently with 33 points. Dynamo 2, now firing on all cylinders, set their sights for the top of the conference and a top four finish to make the playoffs. They will be back in action on Friday July 15th for an important match against, North Texas SC.
We appreciate you joining us for another exciting edition of Dynamo 2sday, and we look forward to bringing you all your Dynamo 2 news and updates. It might be hotter than the sun outside but when it comes to following along with us, don’t sweat it, we’ve got you covered.
Below are some of my photos from the match on Sunday night. #HoldItDown #VamosDos