As I mentioned in my last article, Houston basketball legend James Harden bought into the Dynamo/Dash organization last week to much fanfare. Fans looking for signs of life in the ownership circle welcomed his willingness to use his media status and hope the change in energy might make some waves among the owners. I’ve tried hard to stay out of the fray of ownership complaints, so when I was a little surprised by Harden’s move I chalked it up to being a less informed fan in that area.
However, as I watched the Dynamo vs Toronto match from my living room on Saturday night it all became clear. What else does a basketball player recognize more than how to read a bounce? When the Dynamo are at their lowest point of the season, what do they do? They. Bounce.
Coming into Saturday’s match coach Wilmer Cabrera’s lineup looked a little closer to standard, but some pundits and fans still questioned his choices. Heck, I still questioned some of his choices. But Houston didn’t leave fans questioning long as Tommy McNamara found the back of the net just 4 minutes in.
The team that showed up on the pitch was one that Houston fans hadn’t seen in well over a month as the boys seemed to play with a level of confidence and skill that has simply been missing this summer. Wherever the tactical magic has been hiding, it was back in lockstep as passes linked up through narrow channels and chances were consistent in the first half. Tomas Martinez gave Houston some breathing room in the 23rd minute and they went into the half ahead 2-0.
Houston is no stranger to the second half choke, so fans were still nervous as the teams took the pitch for the second half – and rightfully so as Toronto subbed in heavy hitters Altidore and Shaffelburg. While TFC had some of their best minutes in the first part of the second half, Mauro Manotas calmed nerves with a third goal as the match neared the hour mark.
Toronto cancelled Houston’s shutout with a goal by Altidore in the 75th minute, but a comeback was out of the question and Houston earned their first road win since March.
So what was the difference maker for Houston in this magical road win? The biggest stand out in the lineup was the return of homegrown player Memo Rodriguez, who has been battling a leg injury and hasn’t been with the squad since May. Could this relatively young midfield floater somehow be the keystone to the Dynamo’s lineup? One of my go-to Dynamo twitter accounts sees something there.
Whatever the cause, Houston fans got a great big dose of win this weekend and not a moment too soon. In wider soccer news, Houston’s NWSL team the Dash staged a comeback win against the Washington Spirit and the organization’s USL team the RGV Toros also won on Saturday night.
So whether it is the Harden Effect, the Memo Protocol, or simply Houston’s turn to get back on top, I hope this is a good bounce that lasts at least as long as the drop. We’ll find out when the Dynamo return home to face the Sounders next Saturday.
Featured image: @HoustonDynamo
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