The Houston Dynamo improved to 9-0-3 at BBVA Compass Stadium with their 3-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes. The win places them, for the moment, in first place in the Western Conference as they also denied the Quakes the chance to jump them in the standings.
Here are three things we learned from this encounter:
1. The internal competition is fierce
When analyzing the way the Dynamo have remained undefeated at home, it’s important to note that the results repeat with a different name. Saturday, it’s Alberth Elis and Vicente Sánchez who take the headlines, with each providing a goal and an assist.
The Dynamo tonight fielded their 22nd different lineup in 24 matches and, rather than play like a team that would otherwise be labeled “inconsistent,” played like a well-oiled machine. Erick Torres and Romell Quioto, two of the team’s top scorers, are in a bit of a goal drought but it’s not too big of a worry because this team isn’t dependent on the heroics of any one player.
Cabrera stressed his satisfaction with the level of completion in his post match thoughts, pointing out that different players will be called upon on different nights. The fact is this Houston Dynamo team can beat you on any given night with any given name, and beware if you have to face them in Houston.
2. The debut of Tomás Martínez went very well
The opportunity arose for the debut of 22-year-old Designated Player Tomás Martínez, which came in the form of a 62nd minute substitution for Ricardo Clark. The Argentinian had 35 total touches in the 28+ minutes he had on the field and passed the ball 26 times with a 73% accuracy.
If you measure his performance with the eye-test, there were key passes that showed the added value he brings to this team. One of those passes made it to Sánchez and developed into the Dynamo’s third goal.
There were still instances that showed a gap in communication with his teammates. That will come with time – as will the experience of playing in the Houston heat, which Martínez himself said he needs a few games to adapt to.
3. Let’s show the defense some love
The Dynamo collected their sixth shutout of the year and second consecutive, for the first time this season. The team also extended their unbeaten streak to six straight, a feat that doesn’t get accomplished without great defensive efforts.
The defense wanted to build on the effort it put forth in its previous match against Real Salt Lake – where they held RSL to zero shots on goal. They did the same for most of the second half tonight, keeping the team in the lead and not allowing San Jose to find their way back into the game.
"Defense wins championships,” and the Dynamo look every bit a contender as their defensive form continues to improve.