Here are three takeaways from the Houston Dynamo 2-1 home loss to Real Salt Lake.
Five game losing streak
Saturday’s 2-1 loss is Houston’s fifth loss in a row and ties the most the club has ever had in Major League Soccer. The last time the Orange lost 5 in a row was in 2014. Worse yet, is Houston hasn’t won a game since July 7. The loss further sinks any chance Houston has of making the playoffs. While the Orange are mathematically still alive in the playoff race, the loss not only hurts their chances at making the playoffs, it could be a psychological blow.
“It hurts a lot because we needed these three points. We needed to win today, and we haven’t been able to win in five games,” Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera said. “This is my first time as a coach, even as a player, I never lost five games in a row in my life. So, it’s tough, but we need to get out of here. We need to somehow, we need to try to push this momentum because it’s affecting us a lot, of course.”
Late game collapse — again
The Dynamo have conceded 11 goals after the 80th minute in both home and road games. In those games, the Dynamo were in a position to take points, which, if Houston had held on, would give them 41 points on the season. Good enough for third in the Western Conference. Dynamo midfielder Darwin Ceren said the team needs to be more concentrated in the final minutes of the game. Cabrera said he shoulders the responsibility of his team’s late-game collapses this season.
“We couldn’t even defend well throughout the game, the whole game and it’s something that is affecting us throughout the whole season,” Cabrera said. “In the last five, ten minutes of the games we are winning, and we finish losing so that’s my responsibility no matter what so I have to continue working better because we are now in a very difficult situation if we would like to qualify for the playoffs we are in a difficult situation losing points at home.”
Out of ideas
The result, although heartbreaking for Houston and its fans, its deserved based on how they play against Real Salt Lake. The Orange were outplayed and looked outmatched for the majority of the game. They couldn’t connect passes together and in general seemed out of sync. Houston was playing its third game in eight days but so was Real Salt Lake. Houston fielded most of its regular game starters except for Alberth Elis, who was serving a suspension due to a red card.
“Today the team was unrecognizable. This isn’t the Houston Dynamo that I know or the one that practiced this week,” Cabrera said. “We didn’t have control of the ball, we couldn’t string passes together, and we were lost on defense. We gave the ball up and conceded to much space.”