The Houston Dynamo did something Saturday afternoon that they’ve never done in 2016: earn a point on the road.
Sure this article could be all about how a draw does little to nothing to help the team’s standing. Or that the Dynamo were leading the game until three players stood around the box doing nothing, allowing Octavio Rivero to score off a corner. Instead, let’s just sit back and talk about how great it is that the Dynamo earned a point on the road.
With Wade Barrett getting his first run-out as Head Coach of the Dynamo, the team’s lineup was changed in significant ways. Alex was pushed out wide from his usual defensive midfielder spot while Oscar Garcia started in the hole instead of Christian Maidana. Collen Warner was a dedicated defensive midfielder while Ricardo Clark was tasked with playing both sides of the ball. With Giles Barnes and Erick Torres unavailable, Will Bruin was given the start. The last change was Raul Rodriguez starting in defense over fellow Spaniard Agus.
Most fans were ok with the changes except for Alex out wide. Yet that was the best part of the team offensively. Throughout most of the first half, the Brazilian was picking apart the Whitecaps defense with perfectly weighted through balls and great one-twos with his fullback, DaMarcus Beasley. In fact it was a wickedly weighted pass from Alex that found Beasley behind the defense in the 20th minute. The retired US International juked a sliding Tim Parker and curled a shot with his right (!) foot into the near-side netting to give the Dynamo the lead.
While the ‘Caps had the better of possession in the first half they weren’t able to threaten the net much. Their best chance came early in the game when Pedro Morales turned his defender and sent a low shot from point blank range that Tyler Deric was somehow able to get down and save.
The game seemed destined to go into the half with the Dynamo up 1 – 0 but in the 42′ Alex and Morales got into a shoving match after the Brazilian was whistled for a foul. Morales shoved him and received a return shove in return. Once the referee broke up the fight, he showed both players a red card. It took another minute before they stopped going at each other and left the field. While a harsh call, it was likely the best one as neither player seemed willing to let the matter go.
In fact the referee was busy, whistling 32 fouls and 7 cards.
With both teams down to 10 men, the home side enjoyed the possession in the second half. Starting about the 60th minute, the ‘Caps came at the Dynamo defense in near-constant waves. This is where Tyler Deric found his Superman cape and became #StDeric once again.
The Texas native made six saves, most coming in the second half. And some of these were ridiculous. One came off a corner where he was leaning left but the shot went to his right, high. He somehow shifted his weight and pushed the shot over the bar. Vancouver lucked out later in the match when Kekuta Manneh sent an inch-perfect cross from the right flank that David Horst intercepted and pushed just barely past the post for a corner.
Dynamo fans were given a rare treat when Bruin came out in the 60th minute for young Colombian Mauro Manotas. The talented striker started in a mid-week friendly against Real Sociedad where he impressed with a goal and creating an own goal to put the Dynamo up 2 – 0. While the team did fall into a defensive shell during most of the half, Manotas did get a shot on frame when a corner came in that he headed into the crossbar.
In fact the crossbar kept two goals out for the ‘Caps. David Horst had a header that David Ousted got a paw on and pushed into the cross bar to deny another goal.
Leonel Miranda came into the game for Garcia but was largely unimpressive. While not his worst game with the Dynamo, it’ll be one he’ll watch tape on to learn what he can and forget.
The Dynamo travel to Frisco with a chance to win El Capitan Thursday. The Whitecaps begin their Copa America break and don’t have a league game until June 18. They do have a home and away series against the Ottawa Fury in the Canadian Championship during the break.