The Houston Dynamo lost their only meeting of the season with Philadelphia, a 2-0 defeat at Talen Energy Stadium. Here are three things we learned from Wednesday’s match:
1. The road jitters are still there
The Dynamo have struggled on the road, that’s no secret, but there’s clearly a mental hurdle there to overcome. The team came out playing nervous and could not connect on passes that would be otherwise routine at BBVA Compass Stadium.
With 10 games into the season, the team at times looked like if this was their first match playing together. That’s the worrisome part, not so much the result – none of the other four road teams won on Wednesday either.
It begs the question as to why the team can’t find its groove in the beginning of road games and why it takes them being down in the scoreboard to resemble their home form. It's still a small sample size – that was only the Dynamo's fourth away game – but we'll find out more as they go into a sold-out Bobby Dodd Stadium against Atlanta United this Saturday.
2. The best is yet to be seen
Erick Torres, Mauro Manotas and Romell Quioto, who account for 15 of the team’s 21 goals this season, all lacked the killer instinct and scoring prowess that they display at home. The statistics will show the Dynamo (11 shots) with more shots than the Union (9 shots) but five of the Dynamo’s eleven were blocked.
We know what this team can do when they perform at their best, especially on the attacking end. If we start to see this team string together better performances on the road, where they will be for four of the next five, they can become a team no one will want to face, home or away.
3. Joe Holland made his professional debut
The biggest positive to take away from Wednesday was the start of Joseph Holland’s professional career. Holland, the Dynamo’s first-round pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, entered the game in the 78th minute for Romell Quioto and had 13 total touches, 9 passes and a tackle.
After last Friday’s win vs. Vancouver, I wrote in this column that head coach Wilmer Cabrera is wise enough to be aware of the bigger picture. Holland may not be an immediate impact on the field but now is the time to give him official minutes and acclimate him to the team.
Only time will tell how Holland progresses through this season and beyond,but the proof is here that Cabrera’s offseason acquisitions have a role to play this season. Cabrera said in preseason that everyone would have an opportunity to play, now it’s time to find out what Holland makes of it.