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Lack of energy sinks Houston Dynamo against Real Salt Lake

Lack of energy sinks Dynamo against Real Salt Lake 2-1
Adam Lundqvist made his MLS debut but the Swede had a performance he would like to soon forget (Russ Isabella/USA TODAY Sports)

May 30, 2018; Sandy, UT, USA; Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman (5) dribbles the ball as Houston Dynamo midfielder Tomas Martinez (10) defends during the second half at Rio Tinto Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Here are three things from the Houston Dynamo’s 2-1 road loss against Real Salt Lake. 

Lack of energy

The Houston Dynamo — coming off an impressive 3-1 victory against Eastern Conference contenders New York City FC, and after getting their first road win of the season two weeks ago — looked like a shadow of themselves. Whether it was fatigue from playing five days ago or Salt Lake City’s elevation, the Orange looked uninterested and lacked energy to start the game.

It was a bit unusual for Houston to start the game with a lackadaisical attitude since the Dynamo have been scoring early in games this season. 

Real Salt Lake, on the other hand, got a jump on Houston from the whistle and was relentless in its attack. RSL owned the possession battle through the first half hour and was rewarded with a goal in the 34th minute.

The lack of energy was evident when Houston did have possession. Houston found it difficult to string passes together. Credit Real Salt Lake for pushing its fullbacks forward and making Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto have to defend more than they’re accustomed to. It doesn’t get easier for Houston as the club now packs for a quick trip to Montreal to face the Impact Saturday night. The one bright spot is that the Impact have a leaky defense that has allowed 29 goals. 

 

Honduran connection

Houston leveled the game in the second half on the backs of its three Hondurans. Boniek Garcia received the ball 30 yards away from goal and squared a pass to Quioto on the left wing. Quioto settled the ball and sent a cross to his countryman, Elis. La Panterita raised up and headed it past frozen Real Salt Lake ‘keeper Nick Rimando. The goal moved Elis to eight goals on the season, while also scoring in his third consecutive game.

For Quioto, it’s his sixth assist of the season and the second consecutive game that he picks one up. He now has recorded a goal or an assist in three consecutive games. Over the past three games, the Dynamo’s catrachos have been involved in all seven goals La Naranja have scored, either through assists or by notching them.

Garcia has had a bit of a resurgence since he’s been inserted into the starting lineup and replacing the injured Darwin Ceren. Over the last three games, he has two assists and one hockey assist (the pass that leads to the assist).

Dynamo debuts

Defender Jared Watts — who the Dynamo acquired from the Colorado Rapids via trade — and left back Adam Lundqvist made their debuts with Houston against Real Salt Lake. For Lundqvist, it was his MLS debut after the Orange signed him in late April from Sweden.

Neither player will be happy with their debuts, however.

Watts only managed 45 minutes of action after getting a knock on the head in the early part of the game. The former Rapids man could have also done more on Real Salt Lake’s first goal, which came when Sebastian Saucedo floated a cross over Watt’s head that Luis Silva headed to the back of the net.

Lundqvist, the Dynamo’s second highest paid player, didn’t fare any better.

Although for Lundqvist, his debut should be taken with a grain of salt. The left back had to make an emergency start at right back after Dynamo centerback Alejandro Fuenmayor was issued a two-game suspension for a foul play that endangered a player.

Lundqvist, a natural left-footed player, was attacked relentlessly in the first half by Saucedo and often lost his one-v-one battles. He’ll want to make up for his performance, and he could get the opportunity as soon as Saturday.

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