The Dynamo dominated with constant possession of the ball, having several dangerous shots at the net – but just as it seemed “La Naranja” was about to score the opening goal, Montreal came up with a 34th-minute surprise.
In a series of passes, Montreal outside midfielder Michael Azira received the ball and curled it toward the back post, where Saphir Taïder one-touch kicked it right into the corner of the net. Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis stretched out, but it was impossible for him to stop the ball from going in.
“The idea is not conceding goals,” Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera said. “We can not concede goals, but we are playing against very tough opponents. So the fact that we concede a goal at home and then we came and we won that game, that shows the team mentally and character.”
The Impact’s lead was short-lived after making several mistakes the Dynamo capitalized on. Passes from Marlon Hairston to A.J. DeLaGarza to Tomas Martinez calmly set up Memo Rodriguez, who blasted the ball into Montreal’s net — a “golazo” that sent the crowd into a burst of celebration and made the score 1-1.
“Many people told me to shoot from outside the area before the game started, and thank God the goal was scored and we won,” Rodriguez said when asked about taking similar shots in training this week.
Dynamo midfielder Romell Quioto helped set up the final goal, not giving up on the ball and sending a rebound that caromed off a Montreal player into the danger zone where Manotas was waiting to put in the net. It was the Colombian’s 50th career goal for the Dynamo in all competitions.
Mar 9, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas (9) controls the ball as Montreal Impact midfielder Michael Azira (32) defends during the first half at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
“Like I said when I arrived [in Houston], I said I wanted to make a lot of goals, that I wanted to stay in the history of the club — and we will continue to work until I reach the goal,” Manotas said when asked about this career milestone.
The 23-year-old attacker said the key to his goals is patience and acting on the opportunities when they are given.
“When I got here, I didn’t really play. And when I had the chance to play, I took advantage of it. . . . Fifty goals in so little time, to me, it’s a very important number and speaks very well of the work that is being done,” Manotas said.
This win is important for the Dynamo’s morale because the task ahead is not for the faint-hearted. Houston leaves Sunday ahead of Tuesday’s Concacaf Champions League quarterfinals second leg showdown with Tigres UANL needing to erase a 2-0 deficit.