Recap: Houston Dynamo vs LAFC 7/3
Dynamo Starting 11: Joe Willis, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Phillipe Senderos, Demarcus Beasley, Adam Lundqvist, Alberth Elis, Eric Bird, Romell Quioto, Boniek Garcia, Tomas Martinez, Mauro Monatas
Dynamo Subs: Jared Watts, Leonardo, Luis Gil, Chris Seitz, Darwin Ceren, Kevin Garcia Memo Rodriguez
LAFC Starting 11: Tyler Miller, Jordan Harvey, Walker Zimmerman, Laurent Ciman(Captain), Tristan Blackmon, Lee Nguyen, Benny Feilhaber, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Latif Blessing, Adam Diomande, Aaron Kovar
LAFC Subs: Steven Beitashour, Dejan Jakovic, Shaft Brewer, Charlie Lyon, Joao Moutinho, Calum Mallace
Tuesday nights game was scheduled to start at 8:00 P.M. but, inclement weather had other ideas so the first kick was delayed till 9:38. Though it definitely took a while for the game to get underway, once the match started both sides were more than ready to go. Both teams came out of the gates attacking, especially LAFC, who by the 2nd minute had already given Willis a run for his money at the Dynamo goal. LAFC stormed back into Dynamo territory almost immediately, scoring in the 5th-minute when Diomande slipped a through ball past Lundqvist and into the box before Latif Blessing finished the goal.
LAFC 1 HOU 0
Less than a minute later, Kaye would miss a long shot on goal that had every Houstonian on the field worried. To give credit to the Dynamo defense, LAFC came out looking really strong and could have easily gotten another goal or two without a stout defense in opposition. LAFC’s frontline had already put three quality shots on goal within the first 10 minutes and was dominant on the ball. But Houston’s defense shaped up in a big way after the goal from blessing. Specifically, Senderos who blocked three or four through balls from entering the box and landing on one of LAFC’s attacker’s feet. Though the Dynamo had chances, none of those came in very favorable situations or angles.
The other thing that really defined the first half, and a large portion of the second half, was the refereeing. Now, to be fair this was not a particularly clean game of soccer by either side, lots of fouls and flops. That said, there were a couple of 50/50 calls in the first 20 minutes of this match that just didn’t go Houston’s way. Notably, Tyler Miller took down Monatas in the box (or just outside it) without seeming to make a play on the ball. What I’m saying is the Walker Zimmerman yellow card in the 22nd-minute yellow card shouldn’t have been the first. Which was quickly followed by a 26th-minute yellow card for Adama Diomande and 31st-minute yellow card to Fuenmayor, after which the first half went pretty quietly.
The second half started more slowly than the first but even still, by the 51st minute, Houston had taken a couple of shots on goal. One of those shots came off of a Manotas run on goal that was probably the Dynamo’s best chance up to that point, but he shoots it right into the goalkeeper. The unclean play continued with Senderos getting a 56th-minute yellow card. In the 58th-minute, the referee missed what probably should have been a penalty (or a free kick) when Alberth Elis is taken to the ground without a challenge on the ball near the edge of the box. 60th-minute rolls around and Blessing hits the floor after a challenge from a Houston defender and ends up needing help off the field with some sort of injury to his right leg. In the 72nd-minute, Elis misses getting to a through ball towards the goal because of a wild clearance from the goalkeeper. LAFC manages to get a really strong counterattack going with the Dynamo just a little to overcommitted up the field and Kaye scored a goal, essentially putting the game away.
LAFC 2 HOU 0
The last yellow card of the game was given in the 75th-minute yellow card for LAFC’s Blackmon and at this point, you could tell that LAFC was just trying to run down the clock. And it almost worked. Five minutes of stoppage time was given at the end of the second-half and the Dynamo quickly got to work. In 94th-minute, Monatas got a pass lobbed to him, took it smoothly in stride then managed to break through a fractured LAFC backline before depositing the ball in the far post.
LAFC 2 HOU 1
But with only a minute left to go, Houston really had to keep the pressing if the goal was going to end up mattering. The Dynamo managed to get a corner kick in the final minute of play that Elis tried to head in but just missed the mark on. The ball then fell almost directly in front of Senderos who just hits the ball towards goal, Kaye tries to block the ball from going in but just deflects it into the goal
Final Score: LAFC 2 HOU 2
I wouldn’t say that this was a strong showing from the Dynamo but their performance tonight did show just how tenacious the team is. While tenacity is important and a good takeaway, it’s also good to look at what didn’t go right, because we weren’t giant slaying on Tuesday. LAFC wasn’t transcendent defensively, even though they certainly got a lot of helpful calls, they did force the Dynamo out of high probability chances. Almost all game LAFC was double or triple covering Elis and Quioto which seemed to insert indecision into when to take shots for the both of them. There were a lot of times that Elis especially would just take too long in the box. Let’s just hope that by the time they face Minnesota United on Saturday night some of those issues will have sorted themselves out.