Recap: Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas 8/23
Houston Starting 11: Willis, Fuenmayor, Wenger, Leonardo, Beasley(C), Ceren, Martinez, B. Garcia, Quioto, Elis, Manotas
Houston Subs Used: Ronaldo Pena for Elis(83rd), Memo Rodriguez for B. Garcia (84th), Eric Alexander for Quioto(90th)
FC Dallas Starting 11: Maurer, Cannon, Hedges(C), Pedroso, Figueroa, Gruezo, Aranguiz, Akindele, Ulloa, Barrios, Badji
FCD Dallas Subs Used: Urriti for Badji(45th), Ryan Hollingshead for Aranguiz(68th), Cristian Colman for Akindele(82nd)
The second round of the Texas Derby started off rather dull. Neither team got a hold on the match for the first 15 minutes. Dallas had the first real challenge of the night in the 11th minute, with six putting in a solid cross in the box that Badji just barely missed. While FCD wasn’t controlling the game, Badji and Barrios were consistently taking the Dynamo backline. Part of that was Ceren letting the ball get too deep. 19-year-old Reggie Cannon was excellent in the first half, but his link-up play with Barrios on the right wing was just off enough to slow down Dallas’ attack a couple of times. To be fair to Cannon, neither team was excelling with their link-up play. Interceptions and passes to Casper the Ghostly 12th Man weren’t abnormal for the first 45 minutes. In the 34th Akindele headed a beautiful cross from Badji, that probably would’ve gone in, had it not been headed right at Willis. For just about the whole first half, Houston looked and felt flat. Quioto, Manotas, and Elis weren’t working well together and all their normal runs.
Which is fine, until that’s what FCD is looking for. Some life finally hit the team around the 40th minute, when the Dynamo began making quick passes on the run. two minutes of added time were given in the first half and Houston almost made the most of it. Martinez missed an open goal after a near perfect set up by Manotas, something that I’m sure Tomas is thinking about right now. On the overall, both teams were playing conservative soccer in the first half. Neither team was willing to push many men forward.
Urriti replaced Badji for the second half, and FCD noticeably changed their formation, originally a 4-2-3-1, With the addition of Urriti Dallas switched to a flat 4-4-1-1 with Barrios sliding up as the lone, deep striker while Urriti played a central attacking role. The 4-4-1-1 allowed Dallas to keep more players back to defend while allowing the blistering pace of Barrios and Urriti to carry the attack. Quioto narrowly misses getting a certain yellow, and possible red, when in the 51st minute he “fouls” Aranguiz with an elbow to the head. Carlos Gruezo got the first card of the match though, a yellow in the 53rd minute. In the 54th minute, Barrios thought he scored in the but the line judge ruled that he was offsides. The Dynamo then proceeded to concede two free kicks near the edge of the box in the space of three minutes.
FCD wasn’t able to capitalize on the chances, but they were taking shots and challenging often. It has to be said that Quioto didn’t look so hot tonight, he struggled to put crosses in from the wings, even struggling to get good crosses in from set pieces. Willis, who really kept the Dynamo in this game, saved a beautiful shot from Urriti in the 68th minute. Shortly after he stopped the recently subbed on Hollingshead from taking the lead. It has to be said that for all the problems that the Dynamo have had on defense, Joe Willis isn’t one of them. That said, Willis isn’t superman and Barrios proved that in the 83rd minute. Wenger looked like he had the ball closed down in the box but Barrios managed to slip in and nutmeg Willis for the 1st goal of the match.
HOU 0 FCD 1
Just two minutes later Barrios got a long through ball settled near the corner and hit a perfect cross to an unmarked Akindele waiting in the box. Akindele missed the goal by a foot or so, and, like Martinez, is probably thinking about that chance right now. The Dynamo were able to put together a pretty good run of play on the right wing in the 88th minute, and this time they had someone to finish. Ronaldo Pena, recognizing space near the top of the box, calls for a pass from Martinez who sets Pena up well. Pena received the ball with a soft first touch before he in towards the goal and slotted the ball past the goalkeeper near post.
HOU 1 FCD 1
The goal was Pena’s first with the club in only four appearances and put an exclamation point on a really good showing for the Venezuelan. A lot of that has to do with his vision and off the ball movement, both of which were phenomenal. Figueroa was able to stop Martinez from getting into the box in added time with a professional foul, getting a yellow card in the process. The Dynamo weren’t able to capitalize on the subsequent free kick, and the game ended a few kicks after that.
Final: HOU 1 FCD 1
None of the Dynamo front three were on point last night, and the Dynamo backline left a lot of men unmarked in the box. But Ronaldo Pena nabbed his first goal in the MLS and showed off what looks like first team finishing ability. The Dynamo will take their hopes of a playoff birth on the road next Wednesday when Houston faces the New York Red Bulls.