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Breakfast Links - July 4, 2022

A big weekend of soccer in Houston as the Dynamo and Dash fall at home and Dynamo 2 win on the road in penalties.

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

Happy 4th of July. We hope you are enjoying your day off. It was a busy weekend for soccer in Houston so, let’s jump into the Breakfast Links.

The Houston Dynamo had a Sunday night home matchup with Charlotte FC, the first time these two teams met. Unfortunately, the Dynamo would fall 2-1 even though Charlotte FC were winless on the road this season, making this loss sting a little bit more. It also stung a bit more that the loss was in front of an impressive crowd of 19,242 fans. With the loss the Dynamo are in 11th place in the Western Conference standings.

The Dynamo came out and did well early in the match, creating chances and pressing well, but there were again problems when it came to the final touch or finishing. The performance drastically decreased after the first 20 minutes of the match and head coach Paulo Nagamura spoke on this at the post-match press conference. “Honestly, I think we started the game well,” Nagamura said. “I think the first 15, 20 minutes in the game. We created opportunities, didn’t finish the chances that we had. I think after that the team dropped immensely—the performance.” There were too many unforced errors and giving the ball away at crucial moments. “A lot of giveaways, a lot of lost balls, a lot of unforced errors that lead to a lot of shallow chances,” Nagamura said. “They were really good in transition, Charlotte FC, but especially because we gave the ball to them too much. We lost too many easy balls by forcing plays when we should have kept it and that took our momentum away from the game. In the second half, we tried to change a couple of things, be a little bit more mobile up front, but again I think it was a bad day for us today. Too many giveaways, too many lost balls. That is what really, really effected our game.”

There was a flash of genius, again by Darwin Quintero late in the second half as he flipped the ball up to Fafa Picault, and it couldn’t have been timed any more perfectly. Fafa took it off his chest and sent it directly through the legs of Charlotte keeper Kristijan Kahlina in the 81st minute.The goal was originally called off for offside but after a VAR check, the goal was given. The Dynamo tried to mount a comeback, but it was too little, too late. They will go back and look at some film to see where they can improve, and they will be right back at it on July 9th.

That match will be Hector Herrera’s anticipated debut, as he is eligible to make his first appearance for the home match against FC Dallas. With the lack of points, it’s going to make the final playoff push even more difficult. This I can attest to; the crowd was the largest and most energetic it has been in quite a while. The fans are starting to recognize, this is a new era of Houston Dynamo soccer. The fans will have to stay patient and realize that these things take time, but the wheels are in motion and good things are ahead for the organization.

NWSL: Kansas City Current at Houston Dash Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dash faced off against the Kansas City Current and took a tough loss at home 2-1 on Friday night. Several players are away for international duty and newly acquired forward Ebony Salmon was brought in to help bring some attacking options for the Dash. The Current took the lead in the 43rd minute when Shea Groom was called for a hand ball in the box and awarded a penalty for the visiting team. Kansas City midfielder Lo’eau Labonta took responsibilty and buried her kick from the spot.

The Dash had their fair share of chances with 9 total shots and 2 big chances created. Also, both teams completed 74% of their passes. The Dash earned 8 corners to only 2 for the Current and both teams had 5 shots on target. The Dash had more accurate long balls with 38 (49%) and had more tackles on the evening, with 14 (74%).

The Current extended their lead early in the 2nd half (46th minute). Hailie Mace found a pass at the top of the box and calmy sent her shot into the back of the net. The Dash were able to pull one back in the waning moments of the match. Classified as an own goal on Elizabeth Ball, it could not have been possible with the dangerous pass into the area by Ryan Gareis. The referee blew the whistle just after the goal was scored and ended the match at 2-1.

With the players that were missing, the Dash played well and will look to regroup for an away match against the Orlando Pride on Friday, July 8th.

Houston Dynamo 2 had another excellent outing from the team, flexing the depth of the squad and the ability to overcome and persevere. Dynamo 2 have an excellent combination of offensive and defensive threats on the field. Marcelo Palomino came into this one leading the team in key passes and was 15th in the league. Also, it is a huge advantage to have players like Marcelo with Juan Castilla (the hand that guides) and young phenom, Brooklyn Raines. Their pass completion rates are above 82% while also being highly ranked in key passing. Then you have Papa N’Doye (feared by all caught by none) and now a dangerous Kyle Edwards to join the attack, with Jacob Evans out wide or up top when needed.

A spectacular combination of play at the top of the box between Brooklyn Raines and Marcelo Palomino found Kyle Edwards alone and in on goal in the box. Edwards would make them pay in the 51st minute. Team leader and captain, Talen Maples, thought he had given the Dynamo 2 the lead with another one of his booming headers, but it was disallowed and there is no VAR in MLS NEXT Pro.

These guys are starting to click, and we are going to see them pull of another string of games with some excellent form here sooner rather than later. Dynamo 2 were close to all three points in this one, but San Jose Earthquakes 2 found the late and dramatic equalizer. William Richmond supplied the goal on a well crossed ball and the Dynamo 2 were left stunned. A moment of brilliance for San Jose left Dynamo 2 to chase to find the late winner, but this one would head to penalty kicks, both teams assured at least 1 point.

San Jose were made to go first, normally considered an advantage, but Dynamo 2 keeper Andrew Pannenberg made the save of the night leaving San Jose with an empty slot and hoping their keeper could save them. Juan Castilla stepped up and calmly buried his PK leaving the keeper 0 chance at a save, getting Dynamo 2 on the board. Brooklyn Raines followed after (with a little fire after for the opposing keeper, who was taunting the players before the PKs) and was followed by Marcelo Palomino who also buried his PK. The 4th PK was a crucial one as D’Alessandro Herrera opened his hips up and at the last moment fooled the keeper and tucked it away into the bottom left corner. That also kept the pressure on San Jose. The Quakes had their 4th player come out and they had to make the PK or they lose and the player tried a Panenka on Dynamo 2 keeper Andrew Pannenberg. Having already been beaten down the middle once already, he was prepared. Andrew stayed home and stood his ground and it paid off in a big way as he punched the easy chip down the middle to give Dynamo 2 two points. They showed a lot of heart and they never gave up. Win as a team, lose as a team. Dynamo 2 will be back in action at home against Real Monarchs on Sunday, July 10th.