Quick Observations of Houston Dynamo’s Loss to FC Dallas

The ride couldn’t last forever as Houston Dynamo FC’s five-game league unbeaten streak came to an end on the road when they traveled down I-45 to face FC Dallas in the first game of the Texas Derby. Both sides were getting closer U.S. Open Cup wins during the week and the game could very accurately be described as back and forth. Sprinkle in a little controversy and you have a memorable rivalry game at Toyota Stadium. Here are some of my brief conclusions about the game.

Outstanding debut for a road game

Playing on the road in MLS is an incredibly difficult feat. Last season, only 5 of the total 27 teams finished with more than 5 away wins. Heading into last Saturday’s game, FC Dallas tied for the second-best defense in goals against, meaning this game was never going to be easy. Houston, on the other hand, opened the game pretty well. They easily took possession of the ball behind the back which shut down potential opportunities and quickly advanced the ball towards the strikers and forwards. It created a quick and entertaining game that saw Dynamo get the game’s first goal, which was a great pass down the wing that cut in the middle for Sebas Ferreira who opened his shot and beat the goalkeeper. FCD.

The story often goes with Dynamo that after getting the first goal they will tend to sit on their lead which almost always ends badly. But Dynamo actually kept the pressure on for the first half and early parts of the second. This has prevented Dallas from committing too many forward numbers as we have always been able to come back quickly the other way thanks to the speed of our wingers with Darwin Quintero playing pretty much where he wants – and that’s not nevermind. It was a much better and smarter start and mid game, even with the head on the outside. However, it won’t last because…

We ended up sitting on top

There are plenty of arguments that Dynamo should have been ahead 2-0 – more on that later – and this decision would have been a bit more defensible if that were the case. But we weren’t. It may have been the adjustments that FC Dallas made that pushed Houston to its limits, but I’m still of the opinion that you have to be able to get out of your defensive third and keep your players in the background. Not being able to do so allowed Dallas to regain momentum and the crowd that propelled them back into the game.

Most people who followed the game agreed that the equalizer was a long time coming, but that didn’t happen until the 87and minute so credit some quality defense up to this point. At that point, a 1-1 result would probably have been fair given Dynamo’s earlier dominance, but by the end of the second half the home side were clearly in control. However, the goal seemed to deflate and the concentration Houston seemed to go and it looked like Griffin Dorsey left his scoring post completely unguarded to give Dallas the game in stoppage time. Dynamo shouldn’t have allowed themselves to sit as deep as them and they can’t lose focus. Yes, Dorsey lost his man, but everyone needs to communicate about set pieces in stoppage time.

That free kick

Our editor has published a great article on some of the biggest issues in this coin and I encourage everyone to read his more detailed take on the matter. My takeaways will be more in the context of this game, so keep that in mind.

After Fafà Picault fired a foul at the top of the 18-yard box, Memo Rodríguez rose to take the free kick which hit the underside of the crossbar rebounded and then headed for a corner. The question everyone asks is whether or not the ball has completely crossed the goal line and the answer you get may depend on who you ask. And that’s part of the problem. The angle shown to fans during the broadcast is simply stinky.

Dynamo were told VAR was being used and said it hadn’t crossed the line so it was not necessary for center official Victor Rivas to take a look. From the fans’ perspective, both those at home and those attending Toyota Stadium, we needed a little more confidence. Because the camera angles were bad, it’s very likely that Rivas will come to the same conclusion and rules that there’s not enough to call off a scoreless call. It is very good. However, very little time came to his decision and a quick look at the monitor might have at least quelled some of the outrage because for us, we still don’t know if that bullet went all the way through or not. For us, what is the point of looking at VAR calls if not for this exact situation? It didn’t really matter given the late defensive collapse, but in sports the ‘what if’ is a question that comes up often.

Sharon D. Cole