Tag Archives: Juan David Cabezas

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 Get And Lose Points at Yankee Stadium

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

After the Houston Dynamo were unable to score a single goal in their last two matches at home, they traveled to Yankee Stadium on Thursday night to try to break the drought on the road. The Dynamo managed to find the back of the net twice that evening, but that wasn’t enough to save them from a 2-3 loss against NYCFC.

NYCFC took an early lead after a goal in the 16th minute, but the Dynamo were able to tie it up just ten minutes later. A perfectly placed pass from Tommy McNamara landed at the feet of defender Juan David Cabezas, who launched the ball at the net and surprised Johnson.

With the goal drought broken, a sense of hope began to stir for Houston. Unfortunately, poor decisions knocked the excitement out of the air only a couple of minutes later as Romell Quioto earned a red card in the 29th minute and left only ten men in orange for the last hour of the match. 

If ever there were a pitch to be defending a road point with ten men, however, it’s the efficiency apartment-sized pitch that NYCFC call home. The Dynamo dug in and held onto the tie through a barrage of New York chances.

The Dynamo went into the half tied 1-1 and the weather gave us some extra time to bask in our efforts and solidify the second half plan as lightning increased the break with a weather delay. 

In the second half, the Dynamo continued their effort to hold on to that road point, rarely traveling outside of their own half. In one of those trips, however, Mauro Manotas gave Houston fans the thrill of the evening from 22 yards out when he pulled his team ahead with a second goal in the 77th minute. 

Houston was ahead for five glorious minutes until Castellanos tied it up again in the 83rd minute. The Dynamo were poised to make it out with a road point, and fans on social media urged the team to park the bus. The road point was not to be, however, as Castellanos scored again in the 93rd minute and Houston conceded all three points to NYCFC. 

As I mentioned in my last article, I am focusing on the positives for the rest of the season. From that lens, I was impressed by both Dynamo goals on Thursday. Neither was a messy luck shot; both were expertly placed rockets that beat Sean Johnson’s dives. I was also impressed that Houston held NYCFC at bay despite being down to ten men for an hour. The match analysis shows just how much worse the results could have been. 

It seems that the Dynamo found that finishing touch that they lost at home – their two goals being their only two shots on goal for the entire night. After weeks of repeated shots on goal with no actual points, this stark reversal of that trend was a welcome view on the stat board. Fans can only hope that it is a start of a new trend and not just a fluke in New York.  

The Dynamo remain on the road and take a short ride down to Philadelphia to battle the Union on Sunday evening. 

Featured image:  @HoustonDynamo

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @sonchyenne

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