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Three Things We Learned: Houston Dynamo 0, Montreal Impact 1

The Houston Dynamo fell on the road for the second time in four days with a 1-0 loss at the Montreal Impact. The lone goal came in the 44th minute of the match with a score by Montreal’s Jeisson Vargas that will likely be nominated for Goal of the Week. The match concludes a two-game trip of over 5,500 miles to Salt Lake City, then Montreal and back to Houston in the span of six days.

Here are three takeaways from the result:

1. Rotating the roster

Playing their third game in nine days, rotation was a given for the Dynamo starting XI. Head coach Wilmer Cabrera made five changes from Wednesday’s lineup at Real Salt Lake – including a mandatory one for the injured Jared Watts (concussion).

This match presented the 13th different starting lineup in as many matches this season. After an initial period of getting acclimated to the each other, the XI on the field presented danger to the Montreal defense on four scoring opportunities in the first half – including a speedy run down the flank by newcomer Adam Lundkvist.

The gamble to rest his usual starters almost paid off in the end for Cabrera as substitutes Romell Quioto, Mauro Manotas and Tomás Martínez provided a spark of the bench late in the game. While the team will be disappointed to return empty handed, the foundation was placed for balancing the roster later in the year when the time to clinch a playoff spot looms closer.

2. Important milestones

Arturo Álvarez, Luis Gil, Memo Rodriguez and Eric Bird all picked up their first start of the year while Lundkvist started for the second consecutive game since his debut. Kevin Garcia picked up his third start this season and first as a center back.

Bird not only picked up his first start all year, he did it by going full 90 in his MLS debut. This is a major milestone for the 25-year-old who paid his dues by suiting up over 50 matches with the Dynamo’s USL affiliate, the RGV FC Toros.

Defender DaMarcus Beasley made his 100th start for the Dynamo across all competitions. The team captain has been one of the constants in Wilmer Cabrera’s lineups, starting in all 10 of his appearances this year.

3. Coming home

The Dynamo return to Houston for another span of two games within a week, these however in two different competitions. The team hosts NTX Rayados on Wednesday in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup before playing the Colorado Rapids in a league match on Saturday (TICKETS).

The team will welcome defender Alejandro Fuenmayor from suspension while having a week to re-evaluate injured players. The cup match will give players needing minutes an opportunity to do so while the usual starters pick up some much needed rest after this road trip.

The home stand comes at a good time for the Dynamo to pick up results at BBVA Compass Stadium and get rid of the bad taste of losing two-straight on the road. As Beasley said postmatch, “We need to progress in the Open Cup and then get three points and keep climbing up the table.”