Houston Dynamo chose a depleted Toronto FC squad to finish working out their early-season issues. The Dynamo won 5-1 Saturday at home.
Toronto FC dressed only 16 players on April 21 as Houston Dynamo romped to a 5-1 victory. Toronto sent their other players away for CONCACAF competition. The Dynamo seized Toronto’s weakness to finish their problems checklist.
Those problems included placing shots, passing and possession, not to mention defense.
Throughout the game, the players excelled. It looked like they’d never had any problems with the first three areas. They did suffer just a few lapses on defense. The first lapse got them a scolding from captain DaMarcus Beasley.
On the second lapse, they got rescued by a video review proving Toronto FC offside. On the final lapse in the 52nd minute, Toronto FC scored on a corner kick. That’s when D Mitchell Taintor guided in a ball from M Ager Aketxe.
Three Ps: Placing, Passing & Possession
The off-target shots that bedeviled the Dynamo in past matches disappeared at home Saturday against Toronto. Of 20 shots, they only made nine off-target, with three of those blocked.
The 11 on-target shots came from their improved passing and possession effort. Houston Dynamo bested Toronto FC in possession 54.6%-45.4% and in passing accuracy 83%-82%.
The team effort worked, posing Houston’s 4-3-3 defensive formation against Toronto FC’s 4-2-2/diamond midfield. Several individual players seized the opportunity to step up their games.
M Romell Quioto posted a goal and two assists. He moved his passing completion number for the season to 80.6%. He had his first 90-minute game of the season. That performance likely wins him more starts in upcoming contests.
F Mauro Manotas and M Alberth Elis added one score each to their bids to become MLS goals leaders.
Elis grabbed the opportunity to further his dribbling artistry. In the 42nd minute, he worked the ball into Toronto’s defensive area where two opponents covered him closely.
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As Elis struggled to get past them, he slipped to his knees. Miraculously, he popped up and recovered the ball.
When they had sight on the net, Dynamo players placed the shots and made them starting in the 3rd minute.
Lapses to work on
G Joe Willis got the start and showed how he earned it. In a few moments of defensive lapse, Willis stood alone with the Dynamo goal under attack. He made several perfect diving saves.
Toronto FC started the second half playing much tougher and crisper. Only in the 52nd minute did Willis and teammates get scored on in a goalmouth scramble. Willis finished with six saves.
In the other moments of vulnerability, the Dynamo got bailed out by offsides calls, one of them confirmed by video review.
Toronto M Jay Chapman executed a dangerous pass to F Jordan Hamilton. The ball somehow got just over the Dynamo crossbar. And then Hamilton got called offside. But the episode lit Beasley up and he let his teammates know it.
Once the final whistle blew, Houston Dynamo supporters briefly sighed with relief. Then they resumed their drumming and singing for long after the game.
Sure, Toronto FC brought a depleted squad. Still, the Dynamo proved they’re finding themselves again.
And they got here much earlier this season than last, when they got so close to winning it all.