Welcome to another edition of Dynamo 2sday. This has been something we have been looking for all season, PLAYOFFS!! This group of young lads have done it in a difficult Western Conference and we can take a deep dive into it.
Houston Dynamo 2 won a tight 1-0 contest against Western Conference leaders St. Louis City 2 at AVEVA Stadium on Saturday night. St. Louis is quite different from the other MLS NEXT Pro teams. Their MLS counterpart aren’t in league action until next season but they have a lot of senior MLS players plus 3 Designated Playerss that are available to play in MLSNP, including goalkeeper Roman Burki, who came from Borussia Dortmond in Germany.
“This was the message, we get them on Saturday, and in all likelihood, to do what we want to do, we’re going to have to see them again in the playoffs,” said head coach Kenny Bundy before the game. “I’m excited, I told the boys, these are the opportunities no matter who they put on the field. We want the best!”
The game was a tense battle in the midfield. St. Louis looked early in the game to be in control of most of the ball and seemed to have better chances to get in the box. These rough minutes lead to a great chance for the vistors in the 17th minute, but a world class save in the bottom left corner from Andrew Pannenberg kept the score nil-nil. Dynamo Dos came into the game little by little by not being sloppy in giveaways, and made it difficult for St. Louis to get the ball. The first half finished scoreless, with much still to play for.
The second half started the same but Dos started to take control. The home side started to get more and more balls in the St. Louis box. Houston forward Beto Avila got the ball into the box and Burki made save on a shot. St. Louis couldn’t clear the ball and Dos defender Isaiah LeFlore fed the ball to Mujeeb Murana who headed in from close range to give Houston the 1-0 lead in the 58th minute.
Things kept going in Houston’s way in the second half. St Louis City 2 become more aggressive to get the ball back, which lead to Josh Dolling puting in a dangerous tackle on Murana in the 69th minute. Dolling received a straight red card for the challenge. The sending off left St. Louis playing with 10 men for the final 20 minutes.
You could see in the last minutes that Dos wanted to hold onto this result, and in the last minutes, they could’ve wrapped it with another goal but couldn’t find a breakthrough. The final whistle did blow, however, and Dynamo Dos won the game 1-0 to deservedly earn their spot in the playoffs.
To those watching, it wasn’t a easy game to the eye since it was a rough and tough battle. With this result, the top of the Western Conference became very tight. St. Louis sit in first with 48 points. Tacoma Defiance and Houston Dynamo 2 are tied for second with 46 points each with only two games to go.
We can celebrate that Dynamo Dos are in the playoffs but the job isn’t over. The last 2 games can make the difference, especially playing at home, which for Houston is a strong part for the team! “It was a goal set out from the team, Bundy said after the game. “Our club goals for this project are to develop players right and to develop first team players. We didn’t speak a lot building this project and the playoffs. It’d be a nice piece of it. Part of the team culture is you want to develop winners. That’s part of being a pro. Part of being a winner is making the postseason.”
Captain Talen Maples was very proud of the performance and knew the team would enjoy celebrating. “I always have this saying, you work hard and party harder,” Maples said after the win. “Celebrating something like that, you are going to remember the games, but you are going to remember the celebration after so much more. The elation that you feel with the guy next to you, that you were just sliding around on the field for, those are the types of celebrations that convince people to do this again. You never want to lose that feeling as Kenny (Bundy) tells us, you have to hate losing more than you love winning. Man, when you win, it’s feeling you never want to lose. It’s one of the best feelings and I’m really glad the team gets really involved and wants to be a part of it, because it is just a whole team effort at the end of the day.”
We will see how the team now adjusts with yesterday’s news that Bundy will be taking over as interim head coach of the senior Dynamo team. An interim for Dynamo 2 has not been named yet. Houston Dynamo 2’s next game will be away at University of Denver Soccer Staduim on Sunday, September 11th at 7:00 against Colorado Rapids 2 and will be streamed live on MLSNEXTPRO.com. Always remember to Hold it Down and Vamos Dos!