Tag Archives: Maynor Figueroa

Undefeated At Home, Dynamo Still Have WORK To Do

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

Houston Dynamo v. Sporting Kansas City 1-1

Every soccer fan knows that there are some ties that feel like wins and others that seem like losses. The Houston Dynamo’s draw on Saturday keeps them undefeated at home, but many fans left the match wanting more. In a game where Houston saw the return of their Honduran playmakers in the front and back, the midfield that has created so many successful counter attacks was nowhere to be found.  

The SKC rivalry has always been contentious, and since the Dallas rivalry is often conflated pre-match trash talk and post-match bickering, I feel like the SKC rivalry is the one that is most truly felt among the players. This matchup is always physical, but Sporting definitely came in looking to break the rules. At one point SKC’s Melia even came out of the goal box to the penalty spot to take a goal kick, and the official may have let it slide had Tomas Martinez not drawn so much attention. The broadcast showed a quick clip of Martinez’s protest near the 15 minute mark, but there was no other mention of the issue in the broadcast.

The pairing to watch for this opinionated writer was no doubt Alberth Elis and AJ DeLaGarza on Houston’s right side. They spent most of the first half failing to communicate and missing key passes to and from one another. They were each visibly frustrated, and one of my only tweets from the match offered a crowdsourced solution.

This was difficult to watch as these are undoubtedly my two favorite players on the pitch. I love Elis’s speed, skill, and the fact that his stats show a spirit of teamwork, with as much effort in assists as goals. AJ is the personable workhorse whose commitment to his family and charity work on social media builds the kind of goodwill that the Dynamo need to win fans’ hearts – the team’s JJ Watt, if you will.

The right side confusion was perfectly illustrated in the 27th minute when DeLaGarza came forward to support and somehow ended up ahead of Elis and battling defenders in Kansas City’s box. Elis, who had shaken his defenders and found space, was begging for a pass. However in his success against SKC’s defense, DeLaGarza couldn’t draw his gaze up to Elis, and finally lost possession to a two-man challenge.   

The Dynamo were down after a silly mistake when Lundquist was surprised by a run in the 63rd by SKC’s Croizet. Shortly after, my starcrossed players finally got it together in the 69th minute, and the beauty of their pairing was amazing. Maynor Figueroa sent a long ball up and across to DeLaGarza, who headed it to Elis’s feet just outside of the box. A beautiful shot through ill-prepared defenders tied it up for Houston and secured the draw.

AJ DeLaGarza and Alberth Elis celebrate their success on the right side.
Photo: Leslie Chairez

At the end of the match, the Dynamo remained undefeated at home and are still in the top 5 of their conference with games in hand. As many players leave for international duty over the next two weeks (including Elis to Honduras and DeLaGarza to Guam), Houston will again seek success in their depth to begin defending the US Open Cup on June 11. Houston then faces a brutal cross-country, 3 match road stint through the end of June.

Featured image: Leslie Chairez

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @sonchyenne

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

The Dynamo Can’t Find Points at Minnesota’s Allianz Field

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

Houston Dynamo v Minnesota United: 0-1

I spent most of Saturday at a kids’ 5v5 soccer tournament watching my stepson referee. 5v5 is an interesting and fun setup to watch, especially when you’re not invested in either team. One of the tournament rules identifies a line delineating the offensive third on each side of the pitch.

The offside rule states that a single player must control the ball over the line; the ball cannot be passed forward from one player to another over the line. Teams can pass outside of their offensive third and can pass or cross while players are inside, but no pass can cross the offensive third line. Like any offside offense, the opposing team is awarded a free kick from the point where the ball was passed over the line.

It’s a recreational tournament, so while most teams are formed out of competitive leagues, no professional coaches are allowed. It’s amazing that teams show up at this tournament without reading or understanding this important rule.

One early match included a boys’ pre-academy U10 team that had missed the memo about the offside rule. The first half was frustrating for everyone as my stepson blew his whistle almost constantly, and both the coaches and the parents were questioning his calls.

He tried to quickly explain the rules to the kids, coaches, and parents without affecting the play. During the half, he was able to take a little more time to explain so that everyone understood and the second half went more smoothly.

I had the chance to watch the same team play again later in the afternoon and was amazed at the difference. In a matter of hours and with only one more game in the meantime, the boys had completely revamped their tactics and had mastered the new formation, going on to dominate their bracket and come in second overall for their age group.

What does this have to do with my Saturday night and the Houston Dynamo’s match against Minnesota United? For the second time that day, I watched a team dropped into a situation where the formation and method of play was unfamiliar. Unfortunately for the Dynamo, they weren’t able to make the tactical changes necessary to find success up North.

The Dynamo were able to manage lineup changes to win their last match, but the continued absence of Hondurans Alberth Elis and Maynor Figueroa proved unsustainable on Saturday night. Houston was still able to make an impressive show, dominating both possession and passing statistics.

But, statistics don’t win matches and a lucky cross-turned-bender from Minnesota’s Romain Metanire was the game winning difference between the squads. Houston lined up chance after chance but could not convert shots into shots on goal, and more importantly were unable to find the back of the net through the 90′.

The Dynamo coaches and players have got to take a lesson from the U10’s that I watched and find cohesion that supersedes formation. Their offensive and defensive play-makers should hopefully return soon, but the team has got to stop depending on individuals or pairs and find a consistency of play as a team.

Nothing but time will tell if this lesson is sinking in, and fans have their next chance to see them back at home on June 1 against Sporting KC.

Featured image: Web Tilton

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @sonchyenne

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

Dynamo Dig Into Depth, Come Up With Three Points

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

Houston Dynamo best D.C. United, 2-1

The Honduran influence on the Houston Dynamo is undeniable. The team has leaned heavily on the camaraderie and cohesion of their Honduran recruits in the last couple of years, but Saturday night’s match against Wayne Rooney and D.C. United required Houston to mix up its lineup and call on their depth outside of the Catrachos sphere.

Maynor Figueroa, the club’s newest Honduran player, received the news at the end of Wednesday night’s match that his father had lost his battle with cancer. A veteran defender, fans expected him to be a backup in support of some of our younger center-backs, but Figueroa has been a powerful force starting in 13 matches so far this season.

The team paid tribute to Figueroa’s father with black armbands and a special team photo ahead of the match. His absence against D.C. was the first hurdle Houston’s lineup would face.

Fans were thrilled Saturday to see our two Honduran forwards – Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis – finally paired up again in the lineup. This excitement was short lived, however, as Elis took a hard knock less than a minute into the match that led to his removal. Homegrown player Memo Rodriguez replaced him in the eleventh minute.  

The Dynamo defense managed well in the first half, their offense lined up chance after chance but were not able to finish, and the first half ended with a no goal tie.

The second half started seemingly before the Dynamo defense was ready, as Wayne Rooney took advantage of too much space and scored in the 46th minute. The Houston defense woke up after that and held DC United to the single goal while the offense continued to work to find a payoff from several chances.

Searching for an answer to the finish, Coach Wilmer Cabrera pulled our remaining Honduran forward out of the match just past the hour mark. Tommy McNamara replaced Romell Quioto in the 66th minute, and the match pace changed completely.

The Dynamo found the goal they had been looking for in the 67th minute from early sub Memo Rodriguez. And just one minute later, the second substitution paid off with Tommy Mac scoring his first Dynamo goal with a show of pure will, battling United’s Hamid for a cross at the far post and joining the ball in the back of the net.

Photo Credit: Leslie Chairez

While the Dynamo are having an amazing start to 2019 and are still undefeated at home, this match is a landmark in the squad’s season. Lingering questions around their depth were answered and the men in orange proved that personnel changes in any of their lines can be mastered.

Even the unfortunate loss of our playmaker Alberth Elis was managed, which may be important as many expect to see him traded in the summer transfer window. The boost of securing three points against the top team in the Eastern Conference is just what Houston needed.

Hopefully, the Dynamo will take this confidence with them on the road as we visit Minnesota next Saturday night.   

Featured image: @Its_Leslieeeee

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @sonchyenne

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale