Houston Dynamo FC stuck with what they know in starters and formations. They’re now fourth in the MLS Western Conference.
Recently hosting Vancouver Whitecaps at home, Houston Dynamo FC continued pushing across the pitch with the formation and lineup foundation they’ve developed since the beginning of this season.
The game plan awaiting Vancouver included at the root the fascinating placement of midfielder Boniek Garcia as a central defender. The bad news for the home team – Vancouver expected that lineup and went after the hybrid midfielder-back.
Houston still won 2-1. But the Dynamo had to work for it.
Whenever possible, Whitecaps players focused on Garcia, while maintaining a competent defense throughout the match. They got a yellow card showed to Garcia. But they didn’t get him to crack until an 80th-minute defensive error.
That’s when forward Lucas Cavallini took the ball from Garcia. He then carefully but quickly worked it around the defender and passed it easily to midfielder Deiber Caicedo.
Despite that error for the only Whitecap goal, Garcia once more played his new hybrid position competently. And he did so for 90 minutes.
The Dynamo game plan once more didn’t push Garcia closer to the Hall of Fame. Yet the synergy in this lineup once again opened up critical lanes for the up-front squad that won them a game.
The highest-rated player by far in the scouting reports was midfielder Memo Rodriguez, who factored in both Dynamo goals, all in the first half.
As an attacking midfielder, Rodriguez always gets high marks for key passes, long shots, and direct free-kicks. Although not known for defense, he made up for any weak marks there in this game.
Against the Whitecaps, Rodriguez got in a clearance, a dribble, an interception, and blocked a shot.
Dynamo newcomers forward Ari Lassiter and midfielder Joe Corona also caught some attention from the coaches. Corona gets paid mostly for his defensive efforts. But he’s had shot success from distance.
In the 67th minute, Lassiter drove into the top of the penalty area and took a left-footed shot that hit the crossbar.
And Corona startled the Whitecaps in the 75th minute with a long ball toward goal, but it went wide.
But this game belonged to Rodriguez. It’s about time.
Rodriguez is the first Houston Dynamo player to pass through each level of the club’s developmental system from Academy, to USL side Rio Grande Valley FC, to Dynamo first team. His Homegrown Player contract was signed near the end of 2014.
The synergy under Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos has caught momentum. They test it out on the road next. Watch out Sporting Kansas City.