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Breakfast Links - July 25, 2022

Dynamo beaten at home, Dos grind out a win, Red Bulls win in Austin, Bale opens his account, and more.

MLS: Minnesota United FC at Houston Dynamo FC Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back, it’s been absolutely scorching outside this week and we hope you’re somewhere nice and cool for these Monday morning Breakfast Links. As ever, we appreciate you following along with us, and we strive to bring you wall to wall coverage, with excellent behind the scenes access to this organization. By the people, for the people. Be sure to check out our website and all the socials, we keep you in the know. So, sit back and relax we’ve got you covered.

The Houston Dynamo dropped a tough match at home to Minnesota United FC 2-1 on Saturday night. The Dynamoe were able to pull one back late with a goal from Fafa Picault but overall, the performance left much to be desired. The Dynamo had 73% of the possession, 22 shots to 9 for MNUFC, 621 accurate passes (89%) to 183 (68%) for MNUFC and 13 corners to only 1 for Minnesota. The Dynamo certainly had their chances, but we continue to see the reoccurring theme of not being able to find that final pass or the ability finish consistently.

Coach Paulo Nagamura said after the match that there is a lack of urgency, but with the chances created it’s more a lack of final product. The Dynamo found themselves in dangerous positions all night long and failed to capitalize, plain and simple. They registered 1.5 expected goals and Minnesota 1.33 expectedd goals. The two allowed goals could have been prevented, and Minnesota made the Dynamo pay with their speed in transition with the little bit of possession they managed. The chance creation was good to see while also dominating possession, but unfortunately the Dynamo need to be more precise in and around the box and look up before crossing into marked areas instead of just carelessly sending the ball into traffic. The timing will improve as the squad adjusts to playing with each other in this new style and era of Houston Dynamo soccer.

Coach Nagamura spoke on that fact after the match, saying possession really doesn’t matter that much if you don’t capitalize on the chances. Also, Sebas Ferreria provides an instant spark and needs to be in the starting lineup, if he’s healthy. If the Dynamo want any chance at mounting a run for that last playoff spot, they’ll need to start bringing in some points in a hurry with the schedule not getting any easier going forward. The next two matches are away starting with a trip to Philadelphia to play the number one team in the Eastern Conference. It won’t happen overnight and it’s going to take more squad investment, but this is where we are at right now.

The new front office is tasked with the extremely difficult job of not only looking down the road at the 2-5-10 year plans, but also trying to get the best out of this current squad. A difficult ask for any new front office, but the only way out at this point, is through. So, the fans hope for the best and try to understand that it’s a tall order, what they are facing, and it’s part of the process. I can assure you the staff is disappointed too and working behind the scenes to build a successful team for this organization in the short and long term.

With the loss the Dynamo now sit in 11th place in the Western Conference standings (five points off the playoff line) with 25 points and a pedestrian 4-4-4 record at home. That isn’t going to get it done. The Dynamo will be back in action next weekend against the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park, Saturday July 30th at 6:30 PM CT.

Houston Dynamo 2 were at home on Sunday night as the faced off against Minnesota United 2 in a tough match in the muggy weather. Dynamo 2 were able to take all 3 points with a close 1-0 win. The extremely versatile Jathan Juarez scored the only goal of the match just before the 1st half ended, and that proved to be the game winner to see Dynamo 2 take the vital win at home. Unfortunately, St. Louis 2 also won this weekend over North Texas SC, giving them 36 points. This puts St. Louis in 2nd place with Dynamo 2 in 3rd place with 35 points, both teams trailing Tacoma Defiance in 1st place with 37 points. We will have a full game recap in our weekly Dynamo 2sday article tomorrow, along with some of our photos from the match.

The Houston Dash were off this weekend, and will return to action on July 31st at 4:00 PM CT.

Major League Soccer

Philadelphia Union beat Orlando City 1-0 to keep their narrow lead in the Eastern Conference by one point over second place New York City FC. Philadelphia took all three points on the back of Daniel Gazdag’s 10th goal of the season, which is tied for 7th most in the league.

The New York Red Bulls held on to beat Austin FC 4-3 at Q2 stadium on Sunday night. The match saw seven goals; including a Sebastian Driussi brace to give him 13 goals on the season (tied with Taty Castellanos for the most in the league), and an Ethan Finlay volley assisted from a bicycle kick. NY Red Bulls jump to 3rd in the Eastern Conference and Austin FC stays in 2nd place, while losing ground on LAFC.

Speaking of LAFC, the league leaders came in to their match Saturday night with 22 more points than Sporting Kansas City and they’d take care of business against a lesser opponent, winning 2-0. Both teams had excellent chances to take the lead in the 1st half, but it was Cristian Arango who’d score in the 56th minute to put LAFC in front. He called for the pass on the right side and took one touch with no hesitation and smashed near post, beating SKC keeper John Pulskamp with the clinical finish. In the 83rd minute, the legendary Gareth Bale scored his first MLS goal, putting the nail in the coffin as LAFC closed out the match. Arango and Bale broke away 2v5 and Arango still found the correct pass to Bale on the right and the Welshman cut back inside to his left and immediately finished with his left foot across the keeper at the near post.