May 25, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo midfielder Eric Alexander (6) and New York City FC forward David Villa (7) battle for the ball during the first half at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston turned on the boosters in the second half against New York City FC to defeat the Eastern Conference contenders 3-1. Here are three things we learned:
The Houston Dynamo didn’t start the season on the best foot. Yes, they blitzed Atlanta United 4-0 to start the season, but after that … the Orange squandered leads in four of their next 10 games.
In those games, the Dynamo either carried leads or were tied at the half before settling for the draw or losing the game outright. Friday’s win against New York City FC was the first time Houston won back-to-back matches this season.
For a team that has performed better on the pitch than what its record shows, the wins are a welcome sight.
In a tough and tight Western Conference — Houston (5-3-3, 18 points) currently sits fourth — accumulating points is the safest bet to securing a playoff spot. Better yet, the team’s play on the field is finally being reflected in its record. Beyond the back-to-back wins, Houston is now unbeaten in four games.
The win against New York City FC also made club history as the first time La Naranja came from behind to win two straight games. Last week Houston came back from a 2-1 deficit against the Chicago Fire.
Houston’s attack has been firing on all cylinders recently. After Friday’s three goals, the Orange now have 26 goals and 23 assists on the season. To date, no other team has more.
Alberth Elis leads the team with seven goals, while fellow forward Mauro Manotas has five. Romell Quioto and Tomas Martinez have three apiece, and newcomer Alejandro Fuenmayor has two.
But with all that talent, Houston should have more goals on the season. It’s something head coach Wilmer Cabrera has mentioned plenty of times when his side scores multiple goals in a game. Elis should have at last three or four more to his tally as the Honduran has missed plenty of opportunities to take advantage of one-v-one situations with ‘keepers. Elis also leads the league in shots on goal with 25.
Juan Davis Cabezas returns
The Colombian defensive midfielder made his return to the pitch after missing 10 games. Cabezas picked up an injury in the team’s first game and has been working himself back.
On Friday, he got 21 minutes of action, and, by all indications, it’s the first step in the right direction.
Make no mistake, the Houston Dynamo missed Cabezas’ presence on the field. The Colombian was the team MVP a season ago, and his absence has been felt. His replacement, Darwin Ceren, is a serviceable midfielder but has made mistakes on the field that have turned into goals for the opposition.
As Houston starts rounding into form, having Cabezas healthy and in rhythm is a boost to the Orange’s success going forward.