Dynamo Theory Breakfast Links – July 4, 2022

Happy 4th of July. We hope you enjoy your day off. It’s been a busy football weekend in Houston, so let’s jump into the breakfast links.

The Houston Dynamo played a home game against Charlotte FC on Sunday night, the teams’ first meeting. Unfortunately, Dynamo fell 2-1 despite Charlotte FC’s unbeaten away season this season, which makes that loss a little more painful. It also hurt a little more that the loss came in front of an impressive crowd of 19,242 fans. The loss put Dynamo in 11th place in the Western Conference standings.

Dynamo came out and did well early in the game, creating chances and pressing well, but again struggled when it came to finishing touches or finishing. The performance dropped drastically after the first 20 minutes of the game and head coach Paulo Nagamura spoke about it at the post-game press conference. “Honestly, I think we started the game well,” said Nagamura. “I think the first 15, 20 minutes of the game. We created chances but didn’t convert the chances we had. I think the team dropped immensely after that – the performance.” There were too many unforced errors and too many passes at crucial moments. “A lot of giveaways, a lot of lost balls, a lot of unforced errors that lead to a lot of flat chances,” Nagamura said. “They were really good at switching, Charlotte FC, but mostly because we gave them the ball too much. We lost too many easy balls by forcing plays when we should have kept them and that took the momentum out of the game. In the second half we tried to change a few things, be a little more agile up front, but I think it was another bad day for us today. Too many giveaways, too many balls lost. That really, really influenced our game.”

There was a brainwave, again from Darwin Quintero late in the second half when he flicked the ball up to Fafa Picault, and it couldn’t have been more perfectly timed. Fafa took it from his chest and sent it straight through Charlotte keeper Kristijan Kahlina’s legs in the 81st minute. The goal was initially penalized for offside but after a VAR review the goal was awarded. The dynamo tried to stage a comeback, but it was too little, too late. They’re going to go back and watch a movie to see where they can improve and they’ll be right back on July 9th.

This game will be Hector Herrera’s highly anticipated debut as he is eligible to make his first appearance for the home game against FC Dallas. With the lack of points, it will make the final playoff push even harder. I can attest to that; The crowd was the largest and most energetic in a long time. Fans are beginning to realize that this is a new era of Houston Dynamo football. The fans need to be patient and recognize that these things will take time, but the wheels are turning and good things are ahead for the organization.

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The Houston Dash faced the Kansas City Current and suffered a tough 2-1 loss at home on Friday night. Several players are away for international duties and newly acquired forward Ebony Salmon has been brought in to create some attacking options for the Dash. The Current took the lead in the 43rd minute when Shea Groom was called into the box after a handball and missed a penalty for the visitors. Kansas City midfielder Lo’eau Labonta took charge and buried her shot from the point.

The Dash had his fair share of chances with a total of 9 shots and 2 big chances. In addition, both teams completed 74% of their passes. The Dash earned 8 corners to just 2 for Current and both teams had 5 shots on target. The Dash had more accurate long balls at 38 (49%) and more tackles in the evening at 14 (74%).

At the beginning of the 2nd half (46th minute), Strom extended their lead. Hailie Mace found a pass at the top of the box and calmly sent her shot into the net. The Dash could pull one back in the game’s waning moments. Classified as an own goal on Elizabeth Ball, it could not have been possible with Ryan Gareis’ dangerous pass into the box. The referee whistled shortly after the shot on goal and ended the game 2-1.

With the players missing, The Dash have played well and will be looking to regroup for an away game against Orlando Pride on Friday 8th July.

Houston Dynamo 2 had another superb performance from the team that showcased the depth of the roster and the ability to overcome and persevere. Dynamo 2 has an excellent combination of offensive and defensive threats on the field. Marcelo Palomino came into that one, leading the team in key passes and finishing 15th in the league. It’s also a huge advantage to have players like Marcelo with Juan Castilla (the hand that leads) and young phenom Brooklyn Raines. Their pass completion rates top 82% while also ranking high in key passing. Then you have Papa N’Doye (feared by all, caught by no one) and now a dangerous Kyle Edwards joining the attack, with Jacob Evans on the outside or on top as needed.

A spectacular combination at the top of the box between Brooklyn Raines and Marcelo Palomino found Kyle Edwards alone and in goal in the box. Edwards would make her pay in the 51st minute. Team leader and captain Talen Maples thought he put the Dynamo 2 ahead with another one of his booming headers but it was disallowed and there is no VAR in MLS NEXT Pro.

These guys are starting to click and we’ll see them deliver another batch of games here with great form sooner rather than later. Dynamo 2 had nearly all three points in that game, but San Jose Earthquakes 2 equalized late and dramatically. William Richmond delivered the goal with a well-crossed ball and the Dynamo 2 were left stunned. A brilliant moment for San Jose left Dynamo 2 to find the late winner but this would go to penalties, both teams securing at least 1 point.

San Jose had to go first, which is usually seen as an advantage, but Dynamo 2 goaltender Andrew Pannenberg saved the night, leaving San Jose with an empty spot hoping his keeper could save them. Juan Castilla stepped forward and calmly buried his PK, giving the keeper a 0 chance of a save and putting Dynamo 2 on the board. Brooklyn Raines followed (with a little fire after that for the opposing goaltender who taunted the players in front of the PKs) and was followed by Marcelo Palomino who also buried his PK. The 4th PK was crucial as D’Alessandro Herrera opened his hips and fooled the keeper at the last moment, pinning him in the bottom left corner. That also kept the pressure on San Jose. The Quakes had brought out their 4th player and they had to make the PK or lose them and the player attempted a panenka against Dynamo 2 keeper Andrew Pannenberg. Having already been hit once in the middle, he was prepared. Andrew stayed home and held his own, and it paid off as he hit the easy chip in the middle to give Dynamo 2 two points. They showed a lot of heart and never gave up. Win as a team, lose as a team. Dynamo 2 will return to action at home against the Real Monarchs on Sunday 10th July.

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