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Houston Dynamo use makeshift backline in Montreal, lose second consecutive game

Montreal Impact forward Raheem Edwards (14) kicks the ball against Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis (23) and defender Leonardo (22) during the first half at Stade Saputo. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Here are three things we learned from the Houston Dynamo’s 1-0 loss to the Montreal Impact. 

Two-game losing streak

After posting their first back-to-back wins of the season a week ago, the Houston Dynamo are now on the opposite side of the spectrum as the Orange’s latest loss — a 1-0 defeat to the Montreal Impact — puts them on a two-game losing streak. Both losses have come on the road, where Houston is now 1-3-3. The team has an overall record of 5-5-3 with 18 points.

The road, much like last season, hasn’t been friendly to the Dynamo. But this season Houston has managed to play better on the road, its last two losses notwithstanding. To that point, Houston was held scoreless on the road for the first time this season and only the second time across all games. Fatigue more than likely played a role in the loss at Montreal. The Dynamo were playing in their third game in nine matches, with La Naranja traveling 6,240 miles in that time span. 

Makeshift backline

The Houston backline has morphed these past two games as injuries, international call-ups and player suspensions hampered its defense. Dynamo centerback mainstay Adolfo Machado is with Panama as it prepares for the World Cup and Alejandro Fuenmayor was serving the second of his two-game suspension after a reckless tackle against New York City FC.

Watch: Highlights from Houston’s loss in Montreal

And Andrew Wenger — who has been a revelation for Houston at right back — is working his way back from an injury he suffered before a home game against NYCFC. Inserted into the starting lineup was Kevin Garcia, who slotted in at centerback, while newcomer Adam Lundqvist made his second straight start at right back.

For the most part, the makeshift backline stood tall except for one mistake. To make matters worse, it was committed by veteran defender DaMarcus Beasley as he failed to properly clear the ball from the box. The ball fell to Jeisson Vargas, who let it rip for the game’s only goal. And Beasley, the professional he is, owned up to it after the game. 

“Today was a game of errors. And we made one today. I made one. I didn’t clear the ball like I should have. So today it 100 percent goes on me. That shouldn’t happen,” Beasley said.

“It’s an easy ball clearance, we step our lines up and that should have been it. The team that made the least mistakes was going to win and obviously, they did and won. For me, I take this one on the chin. This one is my fault.’’

Dynamo depth tested

The Dynamo trotted out their 13th different lineup in 13 matches this season. Aside from making changes to the defense, head coach Wilmer Cabrera made several revisions to starting 11, partly due to the Orange playing in Salt Lake on Wednesday night. Perennial starters, Mauro Manotas, Tomas Martinez, Eric Alexander, and Romell Quioto, were relegated to the bench.

Arturo Alvarez, Memo Rodriguez, Luis Gil and Eric Bird took their place. Alvarez, Rodriguez and Gil were making their first starts of the season, while Bird made his MLS debut after being called up from the Dynamo’s USL-affiliate Rio Grande Valley FC. Despite the loss, Cabrera was optimistic about the way his side played, in particular, those who made their first starts.

‘‘They need more minutes and that’s what we’re trying to do now. Arturo played 50 minutes. Memo played 90 minutes. Eric Bird, first game with the team played 90 minutes and it was a very good effort. That is important for them,” Cabrera said.

“Kevin played as a center back and had a good game. And Beasley, Leo, after playing on Wednesday 90 minutes with a lot of intensity, it’s a good effort by the guys. It’s sad that they couldn’t be rewarded themselves with something else.’’

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