Welcome back in, Houston! We are always happy to have you and hope everyone had a great weekend. There was a ton of action this weekend from the organization, across MLS, and around the world. Let us dive right in.
The Houston Dynamo dropped the ball again in a melt down on Friday night. The Dynamo were playing very well, to be fair, until the end of the match. After parking the bus, Vancouver were able to pick apart the defense. The Dynamo took the early lead in the 6th minute from a goal that was given to Fafa Picault on a kick goalward from Sam Junqua. The Dynamo were leading the match from the 6th minute until the wheels fell off in the 88th minute. They saw the match slip through their fingers in the final few minutes as Vancouver scored two late daggers to seal their fate. Our full match recap can be found here.
Stats, quotes, and highlights can be found here.
All press conferences can be found on our YouTube channel as well.
The Houston Dash continue to reach historic heights with a glorious 2-1 comeback win on Sunday evening against an exceptional OL Reign squad. Interim head coach Juan Carlos Amorós became the first coach in NWSL history to get win the first 3 matches with a club. The Dash also beat OL Reign away for the first time eve,r with a previous 0-8-2 record before Sunday. It is really inspiring to see how much the Dash have stepped up their play and how Amorós continues to get the best out of this squad.
The Dash had problems with the high intensity press in the 1st half from OL Reign, but they made the correct adjustments at the break and came out looking like a team on a mission to come back, and that’s just what they did. It was an excellent all-around performance from the Dash on Sunday, with the entire squad stepping up massively, including goalkeeper Jane Cambell who kept the match within reach in the 1st half. Newcomer Ebony Salmon helped stage the comeback in the 2nd half. Salmon scored her 5th goal in her 5th game with the Dash via a penalty kick in the 53rd minute. Not even two minutes later, a beautiful ball from Shea Groom would find Salmon in on goal and she buried it with no problems at all for her 6th goal of the season.
The Dash have now won 5 matches on the road, which is the most in club history. It really is a breath of fresh air having Amorós and Salmon join the Dash and help take this club to the levels only dreamed of until now. The sky is the limit. The Dash now have 24 points on the season, Portland and San Diego are tied in 1st with 25 points. Our full match recap can be found right here.
The Dash will be back in action at home after the 2-game road trip, against Racing Louisville on Friday, August 12th.
Houston Dynamo 2 were back on track with a beautifully dominant performance on Sunday night. They beat Sporting Kansas City II convincingly by a score of 3-0. Just when it looked like the teams would be all tied up at the break, Dynamo 2 won a free kick in a dangerous area. Mr. Automatic, Marcelo Palomino, stepped up and wouldn’t you know, buried yet another free kick to give Dynamo 2 the lead heading into halftime. Brooklyn Raines also got on the scoresheet with a beautiful goal in the 48th minute and Kyle Edwards put the final nail in the coffin with a well-deserved goal in the 77th minute. Dynamo 2 will be back in action on Sunday, August 14th at home against Colorado Rapids 2. With the win on Sunday Dynamo Dos now have 39 points on the season, tied with second place St. Louis City 2 and four points behind first place Tacoma Defiance. Our full match recap will come out with our Dynamo 2sday article on Tuesday morning.
Major League Soccer
LAFC are still taking care of business in the West, decimating Real Salt Lake 4-1 this weekend. Cristian Arango scored a brace for his 10th and 11th goals of the season (9th and 60th minute), including an impressive backheel goal off confusion in the box from a free kick. Real Salt Lake would strike back quickly with a thunderous shot from Sergio Cordova, knotting the match at 1 a piece.
Quality would prevail in the end, and the ever-talented LAFC squad continued to pour it on all match long. Kellyn Acosta added on in the 17th minute with a heads-up play, benefiting from a ball in the box that found its way to his feet. Acosta, with zero hesitation, crushed it from the top left side of the box and beat the Salt Lake keeper with ease at the near post. It would not be an LAFC update without mentioning Gareth Bale and he found himself back on the score sheet again with a goal in the 87th minute to put LAFC up 4-1. Bale received the pass down the right side, near midfield, and had two RSL defenders glued to him. He still managed to keep on going and blew right past them into the box. After beating the last defender, Bale took an angle toward the center of the box and in the blink of an eye crushed one with his left and beat the RSL keeper at the near post. From midfield, through and past two defenders, and into the box to finish, the whole play was a thing of beauty. LAFC stay on top in the West and widen the gap with 51 points.
Austin FC drew with the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday 3-3. San Jose saw goals from 22 year-old Benjamin Kikanovic in the 8th minute, Paul Marie in the 20th, and Jeremy Ebobisse would tie it up late in the 88th minute, to disappoint a packed Q2 stadium. Austin had goals from Julio Cascante in the 6th minute to open things up, and Sebastian Driussi scored a brace (26th and 44th minute), but neither team were able to find the late winner and San Jose will be happy to take the late point on the road in this tough matchup. Austin sit in 2nd place in the Western Conference with 45 points, six points below LAFC for 1st and a nine-point lead over FC Dallas in 3rd with 36 points.
In the most shocking results of the weekend, FC Cincinnati dominated at home against first place Philadelphia Union 3-1. The 1st half was evenly matched with FCC registering a .30 xG to .39 xG for Philadelphia. The 2nd half would bring the fireworks and Brandon Vasquez opened things up in the 50th minute, followed by Brenner da Silva in the 55th minute, and Alvaro Barreal capped the scoring off in the 71st. Philadelphia was only able to pull one back in the 77th from sub Paxten Aaronson, who came on for and 16 eventful minutes, grabbing Philadelphia’s only goal of the day. Regardless of the dropped points, Philadelphia maintains a 3-point lead in the Eastern Conference standings with 45 points, 3 points up on NYCFC who also dropped points this weekend in a 3-2 loss to Columbus Crew.
Around The World
The Premier League kicked off on Friday afternoon with Arsenal vs Crystal Palace. Arsenal came out flying and beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in this one to give Mikel Arteta the much-needed boost to start the season. The match saw goals from Gabriel Martinelli in the 20th minute and an own goal from Marc Guehi in the 85th to seal it. Arsenal narrowly missed Champions League football last season with Tottenham taking that coveted 4th spot at the last possible moment. With all the fresh faces around Arsenal, with the likes of Oleksandr Zinchenko, Gabriel Jesus, and Fabio Vieira among the names added for the push this year, it is Champions League or bust for Arteta’s squad.
In his first match with the club, Erik ten Hag and Manchester United had a difficult outing to start off the season. They dropped the opener 2-1 with Pascal Gross producing a massive brace to lift Brighton to the win in week 1. Cristiano Ronaldo started the match on the bench and Christian Eriksen started up top for the Red Devils. Ronaldo would end up getting 37 minutes, but Manchester United were just too flat in the 1st half. A lack of intensity, poor man marking, and failed offside traps, led to the early deficit. The second half was better from United, but they were not able to find the equalizer and will be sorely disappointed with the result, or lack thereof. This was the first time Brighton have won at Old Trafford in the history of the club. Danny Welbeck and the Seagulls are flying high after week 1 and Manchester United are headed back to the drawing board for a get-right game against Brentford next Saturday.
Southampton finally have financial backing after having only spent 20 million in the last four seasons. With a new owner in tow, they spent close to 60 million over the transfer period so far this summer on some good young names, but still have offensive questions as the season gets under way. Their first match was on Saturday morning versus an Antonio Conte led Tottenham. Tottenham would take the opener 4-1 with James Ward Prowse scoring the first goal of the season for the Saints and taking the early lead. That clearly wouldn’t hold, and Tottenham chipped away and caught Southampton out on numerous occasions, eventually taking over the match entirely. Spurs got excellent goals from Ryan Sessegnon, Dejan Kulusevski and even Eric Dier (who has not scored in 3 years), to go along with an own goal by Mo Salisu in the 61st minute. Tottenham got the start they were dreaming of, and Southampton need direction and another offensive addition before the end of the transfer window.
Manchester City kicked off the season in fine form beating West Ham 2-0. It was Erling Haaland’s debut, and it started off a bit slow. His quality is of the best on this planet, and we knew it was only a matter of time for him to get out the gate. The 36th minute was that moment. Haaland took off after a through ball into the box and looked like there was no chance he’d get to it as the keeper came out to claim the ball with a dive. At the last possible moment Haaland found an extra gear and managed to get a touch, causing the West Ham keeper to take out his feet instead. The ref pointed to the spot immediately and there was no question who would take it. Haaland stepped up, as he has so many times before, and buried the penalty kick just as calmly as you’d like. He’d get another to complete his PL welcome-brace in the 65th minute.
Man City are outrageously dangerous and talented from top to bottom with a bench that rivals some starting squads. They won possession in the defensive third and it was 2 passes, one out to Kevin De Bruyne and the 2nd, a perfectly weighted pass to Haaland making his screaming run in from the middle. Threading the needle, it found Haaland through the mass of bodies and one of the most dangerous players on the planet was 1v1 with the West Ham keeper, and you know the rest. He was disappointed with the fact he did not at least grab the hat-trick. Also, he is learning the language too, so he accidentally used a few expletives in the post-match press conference when he discussed not grabbing the 3rd goal. Manchester City are in a league of their own and the gap is ever more widened with this titan joining the already bolstered City squad. Haaland is a physical nightmare for all defenders and it’s safe to say he will carry on in the PL right where he left off in the Bundesliga, scoring over 40 goals for club and country last season. Will anyone be capable of stopping Manchester City this season? Will Haaland win Ballon d’Or? Will we see a repeat champion? We will keep an ear to the ground to keep you updated on these exciting leagues across the world.
Until next time, Houston. Stay cool, stay safe and stay Forever Orange.