Here’s what we learned from the Houston Dynamo’s thrilling 3-2 victory over the LA Galaxy.
Right the ship
The Dynamo’s victory over the LA Galaxy could be the game that rights a strange season so far. Had it not been for Memo Rodriguez’s 90th-minute goal, it would have been the fourth game this year the Dynamo gave up a lead to either lose or draw. But their homegrown player was in the right place at the right time to prevent that fate.
And Houston did it at home, where it has now won back-to-back home games for the first time this season. The victories come after blitzing Atlanta United FC 4-0 to start the season and then dropping consecutive games at home. Last season, BBVA Compass was a fortress for the Dynamo, where they lost only once. Their home record was essentially what propelled them to the playoffs.
While the Dynamo have dropped points this season, they also have shown to be a high-scoring side. On the season, the Dynamo have 18 goals. Only four teams have scored more goals than the Dynamo to date. Of the 18 goals, 10 have been scored by three players: Alberth Elis (4), Mauro Manotas (4) and Romell Quioto (2).
Houston players aren’t just scoring goals, they’re doing it early and often. With Alejandro Fuenmayor’s goal in the 3rd minute against the LA Galaxy, Houston now has scored three times in the first five minutes of matches and five times inside the first 15 minutes. It’s also Houston’s fifth time scoring first in a game. In matches when the Dynamo nab the game’s first goal, the team is 3-1-1.
Eight games into the season and it’s starting to become obvious the Dynamo are missing one of their stalwart and foundational players in Juan David Cabezas. The Colombian midfielder — who joined the Orange last season — picked up an injury in the first game of the season and has yet to make his return. Darwin Ceren took his place in the starting lineup and while the Salvadoran is a solid midfielder, it’s clear he’s not a like-for-like replacement for Cabezas. It’s become more evident over the past two games.
Ceren has been the culprit behind three of the last four goals the Dynamo conceded.
Against Minnesota, he misread a pass played to Loons standout Darwin Quintero that led to a penalty, which Quintero converted. Against the Galaxy, he lost the ball to Ola Kamara in the first half for the opponent’s first goal. And then in the second half, when he misplayed a pass to Boniek Garcia, Giovani dos Santos easily picked it off, which led to the Galaxy’s equalizer in the 85th minute. While Ceren is a serviceable midfielder, it’s clear that when Cabezas returns, Houston’s play in the midfield should improve.
Quote of the night:
Fuenmayor on how he felt going one on one against Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimović:
“I was very happy to be able to play against him. I played in Venezuela, and I would play with his avatar on FIFA, so to find him in front of you was something beautiful and thanks to God this is things that soccer gives you.”