Notebook: With win, Houston control CCL destiny

Dynamo close out Group Stage vs. Olimpia on October 23

Thursday night was the definition of a complete win for the Houston Dynamo.

They were dominant in all facets of the game in a 4-0 win over CD FAS in CONCACAF Champions League group play. In taking stock of the victory, the Dynamo were able to check off all the boxes on their list.

“It was a good shutout, we didn’t give away too many chances and we got some guys some games and the best thing is we won,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We want to win this group and advance to the tougher phase of this tournament, but the biggest thing was we stepped on the field with the right attitude and that allowed us to accomplish all the things we wanted.”

Buy tickets for the October 23 match vs. Olimpia 

While the match was a complete victory, there are few aspects in particular that stood out.

While much of the attention will be paid to the four goals the Dynamo cashed in, the clean sheet for Tyler Deric, his first in the competition, will be a point of pride. Another positive was getting a group of players – including Cam Weaver and Colin Clark, who combined for a goal and three assists – some significant minutes. Five players 24 years old or younger saw the field.

The three points, pushing their total to seven through three of four games, put the Dynamo in the driver’s seat in Group 3 with the knowledge that a win against Olimpia at BBVA Compass Stadium October 23 will ensure passage to next spring’s knockout stages.

OPTA Chalkboard: Houston make aerial advantage pay
 
“I think these games, CONCACAF, are a test of your mental ability more than your physical or soccer ability,” said defender Bobby Boswell. “It was good minutes for some guys coming back and we’ve set ourselves up that if we take care of business against Olimpia, we’ll be through to the next round and that’s our goal.”

Calm the key once match turned chippy

It would not be a CCL match without some extracurricular activity. As FAS began to realize their fate was sealed, the challenges started to become stiffer, drawing equal reactions from the Dynamo. While the game never got too far out of hand, Houston knew the importance of keeping their cool.

“I think they're just frustrated,” Weaver said of the Salvadorans after the match. “They’re out of the tournament and when we’re up 4-0, we just have to stay away from that because the next game’s important.”

The one instance a Houston player did get caught up in the action was in the 73rd minute when Adam Moffat got into an altercation and was shown a yellow card that will rule him out of the final group-stage match against Olimpia.

Barnes impresses, opens Houston account

Newcomer Giles Barnes (above right) made his presence known, punctuating his first Dynamo start with a sterling strike to open the scoring in the 21st minute. His left-footed laser into the top corner dazzled the crowd and opened his Dynamo account.

“He had a wonderful goal,” Kinnear said. “I think when he got in and around the ball he was definitely pretty explosive. I thought he had a pretty good night for his first time starting a game for us.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.