A four-goal outburst in the first half sent the Houston Dynamo off to a fast start to the season in a 4-0 win over Atlanta United FC this afternoon at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Continuing the trend from last season, the Dynamo attacked from the first whistle at home and forward Andrew Wenger scored the first goal of the year inside of five minutes. The scoring opportunity began when forward Alberth Elis sprinted down the right flank and sent a low cross to Wenger, who finished with a tap-in into the bottom left corner.
Defender Philippe Senderos scored his first goal in Major League Soccer and doubled Houston’s lead with a header inside the right post in the 23rd minute. Midfielder Boniek García played a short corner to midfielder Eric Alexander, who gave it right back for García to send a cross into the middle of the box. Senderos elevated above the defense to head the ball down inside the right post.
Dynamo fans were still celebrating the previous goal when forward Mauro Manotas made it 3-0 in the 27th minute. Wenger took a pass from Elis inside the Atlanta penalty area to create a dangerous opportunity and the ball fell to Manotas, who scored with the keeper out of his net.
The Dynamo scored the final goal of the game in first-half stoppage time after midfielder Darwin Cerén controlled a loose ball that beat Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan at the near post. Cerén’s goal marked the third consecutive year in which a Dynamo newcomer scored on his debut on Opening Day, joining forward Romell Quioto in 2017 and Wenger in 2016.
Atlanta came out of intermission looking to bounce back quickly but were denied an early chance minutes into the half. In the 48th minute, Atlanta forward Josef Martínez was awarded a penalty after goalkeeper Chris Seitz was whistled for a foul in the penalty area. Midfielder Miguel Almirón stepped up to the penalty spot, but his shot bounced off the left post and was cleared from danger.
Both teams mounted several challenges over the last 40 minutes, but Seitz and the Dynamo back line held firm to walk out with a clean sheet on Opening Day.
The Dynamo return to action at 5 p.m. CST on Saturday, March 10 at BBVA Compass Stadium as they host the Vancouver Whitecaps (TICKETS).
Houston Dynamo (1-0-0; 3 pts.) 4-0 Atlanta United FC (0-1-0, 0 pts.)
Houston Dynamo vs. Atlanta United FC
March 3, 2018 – BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Texas
HOU: Andrew Wenger 1 (Alberth Elis 1, Philippe Senderos 1) 5
HOU: Philippe Senderos 1 (Boniek García 1, Eric Alexander 1) 23
HOU: Mauro Manotas 1 (Andrew Wenger 1, Alberth Elis 1) 27
HOU: Darwin Cerén 1 (unassisted) 45+5
Houston Dynamo: Chris Seitz; Kevin Garcia, Adolfo Machado, Philippe Senderos, DaMarcus Beasley ©; Eric Alexander, Juan David Cabezas (Darwin Cerén 15); Andrew Wenger (Arturo Alvarez 68), Boniek García (Romell Quioto 75), Alberth Elis; Mauro Manotas
Unused subs: Memo Rodriguez, Dylan Remick, Joe Willis, Leonardo
Total shots: 13 (Alberth Elis 6); Shots on goal: 10 (Mauro Manotas 4); Fouls: 8 (Alberth Elis 3); Offside: 1 (Mauro Manotas 1); Corner kicks: 8 (Boniek García 7); Saves: 2 (Chris Seitz 2)
Atlanta United FC: Brad Guzan; Franco Escobar, Jeff Larentowicz ©, Leandro González Pirez (Michael Parkhurst 39), Greg Garza; Darlington Nagbe (Kevin Kartz 61), Chris McCann; Héctor Villalba (Brandon Vásquez 73), Julian Gressel, Miguel Almirón; Josef Martínez
Unused subs: Romario Williams, Sal Zizzo, Andrew Carleton, Alec Kann,
Total shots: 13 (Miguel Almirón 6); Shots on goal: 2 (Miguel Almirón, Julian Gressel 1); Fouls: 10 (Greg Garza 3); Offside: 2 (Josef Martínez 2); Corner kicks: 4 (Miguel Almirón, Julian Gressel 2); Saves: 6 (Brad Guzan 6)
ATL: Leandro González Pirez (caution; foul) 32
ATL: Chris McCann (caution; foul) 34
ATL: Julian Gressel (caution; foul) 45+7
HOU: Chris Seitz (caution; time wasting) 61