HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo embarked in their defense of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title against Austin Bold FC, earning a 3-2 win.
The Dynamo showed two different faces Tuesday night, one that seemed to overpower a visiting rival and one that was just content winning by one goal and not looking for more. Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera was not happy about his team’s focus.
“I am disappointed and also I want to offer my apologies to the fans that made the effort to come over here to watch that second half from our team that wasn’t acceptable,” Cabrera said. “I am not happy, because we came out to relax, we came out and the second half we stopped playing and we didn’t show personality, we didn’t character, we didn’t show anything.”
In the 14th minute, Dynamo attacking midfielder Tomas Martinez scored on a left-footer that he shot from outside the box.
In the 31st minute, the Dynamo got their second goal that once again involved Martinez, who this time created the perfect pass for teammate Ronaldo Peña, who shot the ball with his left foot into the top right corner of the rival’s net.
Nine minutes later, the Dynamo’s Matias Vera managed to beat all the Bold’s defense and scored the third goal for the Houston team. He blasted the ball with his right foot right into the center of the net.
Several minutes were added to the regular 45 and that is when the visiting team showed its capacity to score in foreign territory. In the 48th minute, Bold midfielder Xavier Báez converted a free kick after it ricocheted from the Dynamo wall.
After Houston dominated the first half, Austin rallied.
During the second half, the local team was slower, tired and complacent with having the ball in possession and not attacking nearly as much as in the first half. Attacking midfielder Tomas Martinez said several factors affected Houston in the second half.
“We did a good first half and in the second, maybe after the goal, we fell off track a bit. The tiredness was noticed, also there were many team members, who had not been playing so it showed a little – the lack of rhythm and fatigue and lack of playing games,” Martinez said.
In the 58th minute, Bold forward Isaac Promise positioned himself perfectly and shot the ball into the bottom right corner, adding another goal to his teams attempt to catch up with the reigning U.S. Open Cup champs – making the score 3-2 with Houston still leading by one goal.
After that, the possession of the ball was fairly even. The Dynamo had 10 regular players who were absent.
In the end, Houston’s experience was overpowered Austin’s grit.
“I am happy personally and for the group, [it] is very important to keep winning, continue on this path. We also have many players who are returning from injuries and are adding minutes and it’s good is important (they get back into rhythm),” Matias Vera said after the game.