It’s easy to point to the Houston Dynamo’s slow start as the albatross that led to their 2-0 loss. While the damage was done early, digging deeper the lack of finishing chances was just as big a contributor.
In a game of missed chances, one that stood out was a 21st-minute penalty kick miss from Giles Barnes. The Englishman sent the ball well over the bar to miss Houston’s best chance.
To Barnes’ credit, he was dangerous with several chances from distance, hitting the post on one first half attempt and missing just high on three others. However, the miss was a microcosm of the night’s finishing struggles.
“If we would have scored on that penalty kick, it would have been a completely different game,” forward Brian Ching told reporters. “I think it’s just a bad start by us, we shot ourselves in the foot, credit to them, they came out ready to play. I think it’s just a matter of finishing, they finished their chances and we didn’t finish ours.”
MATCH STATS: Dynamo at Montreal, presented by Lone Star College
Houston generated 18 chances during the course of the match. However, they put just three on frame. While no stat ever tells the story of an entire game, that one does show that, while they dug an early hole, the build-up to crawl out of it was there but the goal never came.
Contributing to Houston’s struggles was a Montreal team that was content to play it smart with a 2-0 lead for just under an hour. The home team did try and hit Houston on the counter, but their main goal was to see out the win.
With the Impact sitting back, Houston had ample chances to pull a goal or two out. Still, Houston was unable to hit the back of the net, and the inability to slot one away after a slow start is something Houston will look to as they look to move on from the loss.
“As a team, we did well to create ourselves chances and we were a little bit unlucky to come out of here with no goals, but we have to give credit where credit is due and Montreal came out stronger than us and started the game off better,” goalkeeper Tally Hall told reporters. “Throughout the season you’re going to have games that don’t go your way, tonight it didn’t go our way, and that’s on us.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.