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Strong first half effort not enough in Houston Dynamo loss to LAFC

It was a strong first half, but the top team in the West was simply too much for the Dynamo to take on in the 3-1 loss to LAFC

MLS: Houston Dynamo FC at Los Angeles FC Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Dynamo looked to continue their success under Interim Manager Kenny Bundy as they headed to the West Coast to take on the top team in the Western Conference, LAFC. The Dynamo were successful in their last meeting with LAFC, this time would be different with LAFC getting the win 3-1. Despite a strong showing in the first half, some defensive errors and a poor second half had the top side in the West cruise to a win.

Very early into the game it was clear LAFC wanted to establish their presence with a high press to pin Houston deep. The Dynamo however were able to come up with a good chance on the counter attack which helped cool the pressure by the home side. Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla easily navigated the ball out of the back after Houston regained possession and found Darwin Quintero. Quintero dribbled through the midfield and tried to thread the ball to Sebastián Ferreira, but the pass was over hit and went out for a goal kick.

Even though Houston looked to have played their way through the pressure regaining some momentum, LAFC were the ones to open the scoring coming from the penalty spot. A good move by Denis Bouanga in the box took him around his defender Griffin Dorsey and Dorsey tugged the forward’s jersey leading to the designated player going down. It was a soft penalty with Bouanga exaggerating the effect of the tug, but you can’t pull jerseys in the box. Carlos Vela stepped up to take the spot kick and sent Dynamo goalkeeper Steve Clark the wrong way to make it 1-0 LAFC.

The Dynamo had a pair of good chances with Quintero and Sebas pairing up well. First from a free kick that Quintero won and he flicked it on for Sebas Ferreira to head it over the top but it went over the goal. Quintero won the ball moments later and tried to play Sebas in, but his long range effort glanced just wide.

It wouldn’t take much longer though for Houston to get right back in the game with a goal of their own. A wonderful through ball by Coco Carrasquilla – who had been playing very well this game – put Corey Baird on goal who simply dinked it around LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau to make it 1-1.

LAFC thought they had a chance to go up again from the spot. Teenage Hadebe had brought down Denis Bouanga inside the box. After a check with VAR it was revealed that Bouanga had committed a foul higher up the pitch resulting in no penalty which helped bail out Hadebe.

Despite the strong showing by the visiting Dynamo, it would be LAFC to regain the lead, again coming from the penalty spot. Following a corner it appeared Fafà Picault handled the ball. After a brief check with VAR, the penalty was awarded and Vela again converted the effort to make it 2-1 to the home side going into the half.

Houston came out of the break aggressively as they searched for an equalizer with Sebas having his shot blocked following another Quintero connection. However, LAFC being an elite team still showed their attacking prowess to push back with Bouanga trying to feed a tap in to Vela, but Hadebe made a timely clearance.

LA’s offense continued to impose itself on the visitors with the defender Ryan Hollingshead finding the back of the net to make it 3-1 to LAFC. After the ball bounced around the Dynamo box, it fell to the trailing run of Hollingshead. Faking the sliding Adam Lundkvist, Hollingshead ripped the ball into the roof of goal.

Following LA’s third goal, they looked the stronger side with Houston slipping in the possession game and the home side pounced on their opportunities with fresh legs coming on which led to some close chances including an effort that came off the post from Bouanga.

The Dynamo came close to getting back into it before the 75th minute from a set piece about 30 yards out. Memo Rodríguez stepped up to take it and just hit the top of the crossbar for it to go over for a goal kick.

LAFC had an excellent opportunity to increase their lead just behind the 80th minute if it weren’t for the heroics of Steve Clark. First Bouanga had his shot blocked and then Opoku before José Cifuentes had his effort saved by the Dynamo goalkeeper. Houston tried to respond quickly with a long ball by Memo to Sebas Ferreira, but his effort would also be blocked.

LA simply looked more like the top side in the West in the second half after 90 minutes. Houston did well to assert themselves in the first half, but costly defensive errors that led to penalties and a lack of clinical finishing led to the game’s final score.

The Houston Dynamo will have a bit of a break with their penultimate game coming on Sunday, October 2nd at 7:30 PM when they travel to take on Nashville SC.


8’ LAFC: Carlos Vela (penalty kick)

24’ HOU: Corey Baird (assisted by Adalberto “Coco” Carrasquilla)

45’ +4’ LAFC: Carlos Vela (penalty kick)

52’ LAFC: Ryan Hollingshead


7’ HOU: Griffin Dorsey (yellow card)


Houston Dynamo:

66’ Memo Rodríguez on, Darwin Quintero off

66’ Nelson Quiñónes on, Corey Baird off

83’ Thor Úlfarsson on, Sebastián Ferreira off

83’ Darwin Cerén on, Matías Vera off

87’ Zeca on, Fafà Picault off


63’ Gareth Bale on, Cristian Arango off

63’ Kwadwo Opoku on, Carlos Vela off

79’ Cristian Tello on, Denis Bouanga off

79’ Latif Blessing on, José Cifuentes off

90’+1’ Jesús Murillo on, Eddie Segura off