Tag Archives: Memo Rodriguez

The Dynamo Bounce Back Big in Toronto

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

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.

Mauro Manotas made a lonely run, shook off all the defenders, and scored in the 57th minute.

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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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

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The Houston Dynamo Take Blood, Sweat, and Points At Home

Official Houston Dynamo Reporter

By Darbi Lockridge // @sonchyenne

Top photo: MLSFemale photographer Leslie Chairez perfectly captures the moment before Alberth Elis (foreground) places the ball at Memo Rodriguez’s feet for a goal.

This weekend, the Houston Dynamo hosted the Vancouver Whitecaps, their second Canadian opponent in as many MLS pairings.

Image: Leslie Chairez // mlsfemale

Coming off a 1-0 loss in Mexico that took them out of the CONCACAF Champions League, the men in orange were surprisingly emboldened. Their showing at Estadio Universitario against Tigres was an improved effort to their first leg at home, and they showed a crowd of over 41,000 Tigres fans an impressive level of play. But Saturday, ready to focus squarely on the MLS competition (until Lamar Hunt kicks off in May), the Dynamo set their sights on the Whitecaps.

One of the most notable moments of the match came late in the 76th minute as a no-fault collision in the Whitecaps’ box led to Houston’s Mauro Manotas and Vancouver’s Andy Rose being treated for head injuries. Manotas received gauze and a head wrap, while Rose seemed to get the worst of it. He bled profusely and left the match under concussion protocol, having to be assisted off of the pitch.

The Whitecaps had used their last substitution moments before the collision and were forced to finish the match down a man. At the end of the match, as the coaches met briefly, the concern in Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera’s face was clear, and I’m sure that he was expressing hope for a full recovery for Rose.

Image: Leslie Chairez // mlsfemale

While the mid-60s temperatures bordered on cool for Houstonians, the weather is always a factor in these early matches when snow-accustomed teams migrate south to begin the MLS season each spring. There is simply no way for teams from the north to be fully prepared for the Houston environment. In addition to the heat, Houston’s annual spring pollen has recently draped the city in a layer of yellow, and allergy-related ailments are tough to push through.

The match was chilly early on as the cloud cover kept the sun at bay. By the half, most fans had shed their extra layers as the sun came out and gave the day a warmer summer feel. The rising heat index led to increasingly chippy play, lots of late cards, and other uncalled fouls for both sides.

Pollen on the lake and pollen footprints on the deck illustrate the extent to which the Houston area is blanketed with allergens this time of year. – Photos by Darbi Lockridge, from her back porch.

Cabrera’s lineup replaced one of his traditional three forward attackers with midfielder Memo Rodriguez, which I believe to be the key to the Dynamo’s continued offensive magic. Forward Alberth Elis scored his first goal of the season off a penalty and was instrumental with assists in the other two goals scored by Rodriguez. Memo’s brace held the Dynamo up to a 3-2 victory against the Whitecaps.

Their seven-point start to the 2019 season is the best on record for this team and could hearken the coming of a new dominance in the Western Conference for the Dynamo, which have often held an underdog status. After playing seven matches in under a month, the Dynamo and the fans are eager to recuperate through the break before meeting the Colorado Rapids in our first away match on March 30.

Featured image: Leslie Chairez // mlsfemale

Follow and chat with me on Twitter // @sonchyenne

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