The Houston Dynamo are a team looking for positives — though after a 2-0 loss at home to Columbus last weekend, that can be a tough task.
But one area in which they can find inspiration is the way they responded after going down a man in the second half. Following Lovel Palmer's dismissal, the Dynamo pushed the gas and put together a 20-minute stretch in which they enjoyed the better play while creating numerous solid chances.
“It’s not easy to go down a man, especially with the weather,” second-half sub Danny Cruz said, "but we started to finally put some passes together and create some opportunities."
Despite the man disadvantage, Houston pushed forward, and with the help of Cruz and fellow second-half sub Brian Ching — both players entered at the same time — the team created its best chances of the match. While the team can take pride in its resolve, it is a double-edged sword considering the way Houston came out in the first half.
“I think we showed more energy in the second half, and we played better when we were down a man,” said forward Cam Weaver. “We needed to bring that type of fighting energy from the beginning, and we didn’t.”
Palmer agreed with cards
Palmer’s ejection was a turning point in Saturday’s match. The midfielder was shown a yellow in first half stoppage time for a reckless slide tackle on the Crew's Tom Heinemann after being stripped by Andrés Mendoza. Then, seven minutes into the second half, Palmer was shown a second yellow for a late challenge on Bernardo Anor, which earned Palmer an early ejection.
“I was a step or two late, and I got the guy and none of the ball,” Palmer said. “I think the ref made good calls, and I was just late. Giving up the [Mendoza] goal was bad … and then I got the red card, which made [the game] even harder.”
Palmer had played every minute for the Dynamo this season before the ejection. The midfielder will now miss the Dynamo's trip to D.C. United on Saturday night because of the one-game suspension that accompanies an ejection.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.