For a team trying to string together two consecutive complete performances, Houston suffered major setback in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss to Dallas after playing so well against Kansas City last weekend.
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“Inconsistent is the best word tonight,” Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad said. “The last four games we’ve been up and down like a roller-coaster ride. That’s not like this team. It’s always been consistently pretty good ... tonight we didn’t play very well.”
Early in the game, defender Eddie Robinson left the game with a right knee sprain. He won’t know until Thursday the extent of the injury, but he's hopeful that it's a minor setback that will only keep him out for a short time. Defender Ryan Cochrane played well off the bench replacing Robinson in the 39th minute.
On top of the injury, Houston conceded the game’s only goal despite having a man advantage. Following a red card to FCD's Jair Benitez in the 73rd minute, the Dynamo were hoping to capitalize on the man advantage in the closing minutes.
“With just going up a man, playing at home, and we haven’t been consistent [all year],” defender Mike Chabala said. “It's frustrating. Especially with that situation, you lick your lips and think, ‘OK, here we go—we are in a good spot.’ But we didn’t take advantage of it and got ourselves in trouble.”
The only real trouble on the night came from a set piece in the 79th minute and led to the game's only goal. A good cross by Dax McCarty and loose marking on both Brek Shea, who redirected the cross, and defender Ugo Ihemelu, who eventually scored the winner, and Houston lost on a night when a 0-0 score was probably more appropriate.
“We lost the ball in midfield and then committed the foul,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “[On] the set piece, we were really, really loose and they took advantage of it. As a 0-0 game goes on you have to be really intense when the ball is in your area, and we let our guard down and got punished for it.”
“It’s what [Kinnear] says every day—every play counts," Chabala said. "You cannot take one play off because the one time that you do, you see the result. We stress set pieces—for and against—and in the past it’s been a big part of our game, and we have to make sure we are just as switched on when they are against us.”
Offensively, Houston struggled to create quality scoring chances as the team’s three shots on goal indicate. The team’s best opportunity fell to midfielder Brad Davis who had his effort from short distance blocked in the 65th minute.
“We lost to 10 guys on a set piece, and I should have scored two goals—one for sure,” Davis said. “Tonight, I felt like I worked hard, but it just wasn’t going in the back of the net for me. It’s definitely frustrating.”
“We were inpatient on the ball and we tried to play that killer ball through,” Kinnear said. “At times tonight, with cooler heads, we could have had more mature buildup. But at times we rushed it going forward. We’re a little inconsistent right now. One day we are dynamic, and the next day we’re not.”