Tag Archives: DaMarcus Beasley

Houston’s Road Trip Blues: Second Verse, Same As The First

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

The Houston Dynamo are in another slump, with a string of losses beginning with their exit from the League’s Cup at the end of July and three more MLS losses since. After letting three road points slip away in New York last Thursday, they traveled to Philadelphia to test their road efforts again. 

Head coach Wilmer Cabrera, no stranger to surprises with his starting XI, brought along Houston’s three new players. Chilean defender José Bizama, has been working through visa issues for a month, while Christian Ramirez and Niko Hansen were signed less than a week ahead of the Union match. All three made the roster for Thursday night’s match – Bizama and Ramirez started, while Hansen was on the bench. The new players may not have been fully prepared for league play, as Ramirez and Bizama each had to be subbed out due to cramping between the 70th and 85th minutes. 

Houston veteran DaMarcus Beasley had been subbed out even earlier, which left Houston with no options when Juan David Cabezas exited the match after being fouled hard, and the Dynamo finished the match with ten men. In New York, the team was down a man after a red card, so running shorthanded is starting to become a bad habit for Houston. 

The second familiar tune of the evening was heading into the half tied at a point. While the halftime result was identical to the NYC match, the Dynamo did less with the possibilities further down the East Coast in Philly. Houston put forth lots of effort and had some great combinations, but the constant turnover with subs and injuries in the last fifteen minutes was more than they could overcome. Houston fell to the Philadelphia Union 2-1 after an Elliot header in the 78th minute.

I attempt to belay cognitive bias when evaluating player’s efforts, and fight against the halo effect consciously. For those that aren’t psychology nerds like me, the halo effect as it applies to soccer is the tendency to judge a player’s overall performance based on a single match or play. That being said, I will abandon all of this academic speech to simply say that Houston keeper Joe Willis really needs to get his mojo back. 

Every keeper gets scored on, and every one makes mistakes. I’ve maintained a positive view of Willis through some of the recent losses and have refused to allow the halo effect to let a couple of bad matches color my entire view of his career. Whatever has happened to his game, I’m ready for him to recover. Recent shots getting past Willis are slow and sloppy – not impressive shots that would be forgivable to miss. 

Overall the Dynamo continue to show moments of brilliance offensively and defensively but have been unable to get the entire team functioning on all cylinders for more than a half. Big changes have happened to the roster over the last week, and Wilmer Cabrera has parted ways with the club in the time I’ve been working on this article! Undoubtedly, there will be lots of big things to discuss after the Dynamo come home to face the Colorado Rapids on Saturday.  

Featured image:  @HoustonDynamo

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @sonchyenne

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Houston Dynamo Pack Up Their Struggles, Visit Portland

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

Houston v Minnesota: 2-3, Houston v Portland: 0-4

The Dynamo exited the US Open Cup competition last week after a loss to Minnesota. In that match, Houston went into the second half with a 2-0 lead, but their defense faltered in the last half hour. The Loons took advantage, and the Dynamo walked away with a 3-2 loss. 

After that disappointment Houston turned their full attention to the MLS season and kicked off a brutal three match, cross-country road series in Portland.

Cabrera’s lineup in Portland left the offensive line untouched but brought back his standard starting defenders – DaMarcus Beasley, AJ DeLaGarza, and Kiki Struna. It was a lineup that has pulled the Dynamo through its best MLS start so far this season, but one that hadn’t been together in orange for almost three weeks.

Despite the break, it seemed that both Cabrera and the offense put a significant amount of trust in this veteran back line, as the entire match seemed to be waiting for them to set the pace with counterattacks. 

Portland is a fast team. The Dynamo tried to slow that play down, but their tactics simply weren’t enough to manage the match. They would put together two or three quick passes in the midfield, send the ball to the back line, and then turnover as they attempted to re-advance. While the Dynamo have been lethal with this counterattack in the past, it simply was not the strategy that was needed in this match. 

Half an hour into the match, once it was clear which team was coming in on the front foot in this pairing, the mistakes began. Houston forwards were caught offside, defenders left Timbers out of range but onside, and bad touches started chipping away at the Dynamo’s chances and confidence. 

While the officiating wasn’t the main culprit in this match, PROreferee Alan Kelly had his share of interesting moments. As Portland’s Valeri squared up against Joe Willis for the PK that would result in the second Timber’s goal, Kelly became fixated on the placement of Willis’s cleats on the line. Willis is a seasoned professional, was placed correctly, and there was no call for the scrutiny or interference. Even SKC fans, who are usually no friends of the Dynamo, took notice!

Kelly also took a particular interest in Dielna’s shin guards when the Timbers subbed him in at the 83rd minute. These are matters for U10 recreational refs and had little business interrupting Saturday’s match. 

In the end, Portland came away with a stunning 4 -0 victory over Houston. It’s difficult as a fan and a writer to cover matches like this. It’s easier when the blame is on bad officiating or unlucky shots. Against Portland, however, the Dynamo were truly outplayed. Their goals were excellent and born from great speed, passing, and technique. But smart fans know that setbacks  like this don’t have to be a trend.

The Dynamo finished the 2018 season with a trophy and have started this season strong. Losses will come, but the Houston Dynamo have got to shake them off and carry on. Houston’s next chance to prove their lessons learned comes Wednesday in San Jose. 

Featured image: @TimbersFC

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @sonchyenne

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Injuries don’t Sideline Houston Dynamo Momentum

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

The ghosts of injuries past are haunting the Houston Dynamo. Defender DaMarcus Beasley was uncharacteristically subbed out only 20 minutes into the team’s March 12 CCL away match against the Tigres. Nothing was said at the time, but the following week Beasley shared a picture on Instagram from a wheelchair after undergoing surgery. The Dynamo confirmed that he had an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee. This is an ongoing issue for the seemingly ageless captain, who had a similar procedure in 2016.

Another defender, Columbian Juan David Cabezas, missed much of last season due to a continuing hamstring issue. While his 2019 return helped forge a win in Dynamo’s Guatemalan CCL match, his injury was aggravated again and he has been on the Injury Report since then. He was tested this week with the Dynamo’s second team in the Rio Grande Valley so we hope to see a return soon.

Of course, new injuries are also appearing with Romell Quioto injuring his right knee training over the international break with Honduras. He posted a photo of his recovery on Twitter this week, saying that he is working hard to return.

The effect of injury strikes me particularly this week as I deal with one of my own. A slip off my deck stairs last week had me posting my own injury report online. I’ll have surgery on my broken foot this week and will be cast-bound for six weeks. I’ll either go crazy during the break or write some really good stuff, so stay tuned and share soccer memes with me on Twitter.  

Injuries aside, the Dynamo continue their fantastic start to this MLS season. After an early stretch of home matches, Houston remained undefeated and carried 7 points into their first away match this weekend. The Dynamo have an especially bad history away with the Colorado Rapids, not having won in Colorado in over a decade. That changed Saturday night as Alberth Elis repeatedly created magic in the box and the Dynamo triumphed over the Rapids 4-1. Elis had a hand in each goal scored – first with a well-timed pass to Memo Rodriguez in minute 4 and finally adding his own mark in the 67th minute.

What happened between was a misguided defensive effort by the Rapids. Attempting to defend in the box as Houston’s scorers pushed up, Elis was able to force two own-goals from the Rapids’ Sjöberg and Rosenberry. In the 81st minute, Houston’s Maynor Figueroa let his arms get away from him during an aerial challenge and a handball was called in the box. Kei Kamara was able to convert the penalty and save the Rapids from a shutout, but the damage was done. Elis earned the Man of the Match title…but some online fun may have been had at the Rapid’s expense…

@Dynamopix, Nigel Brooks, had his own candidate for Saturday’s Man of the Match

This is the best start to a season in Houston Dynamo history. The men in orange get another short break before coming home again to face San Jose on April 13. I’ll be the girl on the knee scooter trying to get players to sign my orange cast!

Featured image: @HoustonDynamo

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @sonchyenne

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

For the Houston Dynamo, It’s Time

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

The off-season for the Houston Dynamo seemed short, especially for a team that didn’t make the MLS playoffs. In November, the Dynamo hired a new President of Business Operations, John Walker. He came in ready to listen to fans and made both bold and genuine gestures to prove that he truly wanted to hear from us.

However, his commitment to this process took time. The organizational changes seemed to push back a lot of the typical off-season fluff that carries us through the fallow time. Rumors of kit sponsors, signings and other potential moves sat pending for days and weeks. As off-season became pre-season, at least one fan assumed they missed the kit launch and hit up the team store for a new jersey—only to be informed that it hadn’t yet been unveiled.

For the team, our pre-season was wrought with inconsistencies—wins, losses, red cards, and Coach Wilmer Cabrera’s continuing habit of changing lineups and even player positions for every match. We have a great mix of veteran and young players with experience all over the globe, but fans are never sure who will turn up or where.

But our first test came this week when the Houston Dynamo met Guastatoya in Guatemala for the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL). Our starters were the token Cabrera expected surprise. Still, as a group of nearly 50 supporters met in a bar across the street from our stadium, we were primed for the match, ready for anything, and hungry for victory.

What came next was every soccer fan’s dream. My family has an often-repeated line that we found on Twitter last year. In response to a tweet by Andrew Wiebe about fouls against MLS teams in last year’s CCL, @andrewsorg responded, “Do you even #CONCACAF, bro?” This has become our shorthand in rough matches to remind us that the beautiful game comes along with grit and guts, that fouls happen, and that the real match comes when the teams want a victory and fight hard for it.

And, yes, we CONCACAFed. We fought hard, and our defense was relentless, never backing down from Guastatoya’s advances. Our offense found a fluidity that challenged past the Guatemalans’ defense. The teams were scoreless through the 80th minute, and Dynamo fans held their collective breath.

In the 2018 MLS season, we repeatedly lost matches in the final 10 minutes when our defense failed to hold. The 2019 season hints at an end to that curse, however, as we earned a corner just past the 80 minute mark. Romell Quioto sent a high ball to the top of the box that our veteran captain, DaMarcus Beasley, read perfectly. With his weaker right foot, Beasley loosed an absolute rocket through a field of players, sinking a goal.

The Dynamo held on to their 1-0 lead through those last moments, so we meet Guastatoya at home next week with one away goal and a win secured.

And that new orange kit will be unveiled just in time.

Featured image: Sean Ringrose, with permission.

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @sonchyenne

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale