Mar 3, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo defender Philippe Senderos (4) and Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almiron (10) battle for the ball during the second half at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
After the Houston Dynamo’s pretty convincing 4-0 win against Atlanta United, here are three things we learned about the men in Orange as they embark on making the playoffs in consecutive years.
1. Alberth Elis: The difference maker
Alberth Elis, whose in his second Major Leauge Soccer season, ran circles around the Atlanta United defense. Specifically, on the right wing where the Honduran international made runs all game long. Every time Elis had the ball, the fans in BBVA Compass Stadium stood and waited with bated breath to see what ‘La Pantera’ was going to do, and he didn’t disappoint.
While Elis didn’t score a goal — he missed a sitter in the second half — he did nab an assist in the fourth minute of the game. The goal proved to be the game winner, but more than that, it set the tempo for the rest of the game.
Now that Elis is a permanent fixture for the Dynamo — last season the Honduran was on-loan from Liga MX side Monterrey Rayados — Dynamo fans can expect to see more dazzling displays of skills from ‘La Pantera.’
2. Houston Dynamo a force to be reckoned with at home
Last season, in Wilmer Cabrera’s first season as Dynamo head coach, the Orange were one of the best teams at home. They posted a 12-4-1 record and was one of four MLS teams to only lose once at home. Midway through last season, teams knew playing at BBVA Stadium more often than not meant they were in for a tough game. Saturday’s win and clinical finishing against Atlanta was more evidence to support that claim.
It’s a point Cabrera made sure to bring up in his post-game press conference.
“Despite all the things that have happened we have been able to continue showing that the Houston Dynamo, in Houston, is going to be dangerous. That’s for sure,” Cabrera said. “Sometimes we’re going to win. Sometimes we’re going to tie. Sometimes we’re going to lose but we’re going to be dangerous.”
3. Juan David Cabezas exits the game with an injury
As many positives that there are to take from a 4-0 win, the one primary negative is losing Juan David Cabezas. Last season’s Dynamo MVP, Cabezas exited the game in the 15th minute with a left quadricep injury. Cabezas, who was also on-loan last season, is now a permanent Dynamo player and his play on the field will be missed.
Cabrera said after the game that Cabezas’ injury is a muscle problem and has no timetable for his return at the moment. If Cabeza can’t play in the Dynamo’s next match, March 11 vs. Vancouver, all bets are that Darwin Cerén, who subbed on for Cabezas in the 15th minute, will be the one to get the call.
Cerén, who was making his Dynamo debut, did nothing to deter one from thinking he can’t be a solid replacement if Cabezas can’t go. The El Salvadorean international scored in first-half injury time to put the game away.