Houston Dynamo: Easily winning matches thanks to roster depth

Houston Dynamo put together a winning streak for new head coach Tab Ramos

Houston Dynamo got their three-game winning streak ended by FC Dallas on Sept. 12. Head Coach Tab Ramos had only slightly changed his strategy for that game. In the previous three matches, Ramos started or subbed in newcomer forward Niko Hansen.

He also found at least a very few minutes for young midfielder Nico Lemoine. Neither of these players generated the kind of statistics that delight fantasy players. But their presence in these matches added fresh legs, gave the young players needed experience, and ensured the win.

Then, at FC Dallas, Hansen stayed on the bench and Lemoine got in for just a minute. Dynamo lost 2-1. So on Sept. 19, Houston Dynamo hosted Minnesota United FC. The visitors ran up a 2-0 score in the first half.

Depth proved to be very important for Houston Dynamo

In the second half, Ramos subbed in Hansen for 13 minutes and Lemoine for 10. They ended the game with a point, tied 2-2. Ramos has favored the same 4-3-3 formation in the previous five games, regardless of what opponents show.  The most successful uses of that formation have started midfielder Memo Rodriguez.

The versatile homegrown Rodriguez doesn’t show any problems, whether left, right, or center in this lineup. He’s good for 80 minutes in any game. Newcomers Hansen and Lemoine aren’t getting as many minutes as Rodriguez. Yet, scouts report the few minutes they’re gaining aren’t squandered. They’re getting solid marks.

When subbed in, both team members are keeping pace with the other bench players. Hansen came to Houston in a 2019 trade. He was originally drafted by Columbus Crew SC and got in only 33 minutes last year. He’s accumulating more this season. His Dynamo career is snowballing.

Lemoine comes to the Dynamo through service with the club’s U-19 Academy. He also played in the USL with Rio Grande Valley Toros in 2019. He scored his first goal in only his second appearance with that team. Lemoine is getting the fewest minutes. As he develops, the Dynamo want him primarily to create chances for the scorers.

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Houston Dynamo supporters continue to question why the team doesn’t unload the cash to acquire one or two world-beaters for the squad. The Dynamo’s answer is to maintain a pitch full of solid starters. Then win games on the depth required to keep fresh legs on the field. And create chances. With that depth waiting on the bench every second half of every match, coaches must remember to call on them at the right time. Doing that will win the team more points.