Twitter: @KeepingTabsPod - Ran by Colin and Luke 9/1/2020
Sporting KC (5-2 W) Review
Memo Rodriguez Era
During the Dynamo’s 5-2 thrashing of Sporting KC, a revelation occurred to me. If and when Manotas or Elis leaves, I believe the Dynamo, whether they know it or not, will be entering the Memo Rodriguez Era of Houston soccer.
It's been obvious through this shortened MLS season that Memo Rodriguez has been the most versatile and dependable player on the Dynamo’s roster. That’s not a knock on Darwin Quintero or Alberth Elis. It's more of a testament to the talent level displayed by the 24 year old Houston native. Memo has been moved all over the midfield and played plenty of wing. He leads the team in Shots and Shots on Goal. When he's not an integral point of the offense, Rodriguez is a stellar defender. This is where his versatility really pays off. Coach Tab Ramos is comfortable moving Memo all over the field. A great example of this was when Memo was dropped back against Sporting KC. The Dynamo were having some major issues playing against KC’s upfield pressure and the entire back line looked uncomfortable on the ball. That's when Tab Ramos made the unique decision to drop back Memo Rodriguez. The difference on the field happened immediately. Memo’s comfortability on the ball as well as his ability to find open space helped shift this game from being in Sporting KC’s favor to the Houston Dynamo’s favor. All of this is to say that anyone who watches MLS should know the name Memo Rodriguez. I would expect Memo to be wearing the Dynamo’s captain’s armband in the not too distant future.
Christian Ramirez and Niko Hansen: It May Be the Time to Step Up
It’s no secret to the league that Houston’s own Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis could exit at any moment. Ramirez’s good form the past couple games combined with a surprisingly star-like performance from Niko Hansen against SKC helps make the future look a lot more pleasant than it did before the season started. Ramirez seemingly fits well with the slow and possessive build-up play that Tab has mentioned again and again. He passes well and has a powerful and accurate boot. As for Niko Hansen, the best compliment I can give to him is to bring up the fact that the level of play did not decrease a single bit when the substitute replaced Elis at halftime
When the Dynamo brought in Coach Tab Ramos, the expectation was that we were getting a coach that could strategize the team into winning situations. When Tab secured his first professional win against Sporting KC, we saw just that. In this matchup, the Dynamo roster seemed to finally buy into Tab’s system and playstyle. They maintained possession, played back comfortably, and finished the goals when the opportunity presented itself. Tab also made key adjustments mid-game like moving Memo back to give help to the back line. Beating the #1 seed in the western conference is a big victory. To be totally honest, it never seemed like the Dynamo had the best eleven players on the field, but it was clear they had the better game plan and execution of that game plan thanks to the coach standing on the sidelines.
The major talking point of Darwin Quintero heading into the season was his laziness at defense. Many sports outlets wrote him off and focused only on his inability to track balls or provide any cover support. Luckily for us, they couldn’t have been more wrong! Here at Keeping Tabs, we joke around and put words into the mouth of what Tab might’ve told Quintero regarding his lack of effort. “You’re gonna have to play defense to play in my squad”, we mocked jokingly. Quintero has had a couple notable steals on defense and makes at least one good tackle a game. That's just his defensive efforts. Offensive wise he proves to be a top player for the Dynamo - only further cementing his powerful presence on the team.
Pre Game Talk: Minnesota United Vs. Houston Dynamo
Darwin Quintero and Christian Ramirez playing their former squad
This is one of the major keys to watch during Wednesday’s showdown between Minnesota United and the Houston Dynamo. Both Quintero and Ramirez have been lighting it up lately for Houston but now the challenge is facing the déjà vu of playing their former team. Quintero’s time up north ended poorly with him telling Minnesota that he was leaving. This mostly stemmed from the fact that Darwin did not get to start in the first round playoff matchup against the Galaxy. This is Darwin’s chance to get back at the Loons and continue his stellar 2020 campaign. As far as Christian Ramirez is concerned it's all but guaranteed he will play a good amount of minutes against Minnesota, as Mauro Manotas is still nursing an injury. Since Christian has joined the starting 11 he has played good and put serious question into a lot of fans' heads that if we still need Manotas starting up top. If Ramirez continues to play well the questions will only become more and more frequent.
With Alberth Elis injured, Niko Hansen will step up and start tomorrow against Minnesota. Those are some big shoes to fill so we’ll definitely be keeping tabs on this. With a goal and an assist last game we are hopeful and really not too worried. We will see.
With Zahibo and Lassiter being the two newest players available for the game, it is possible to see one of the two come into the game as a sub. Personally, we do not think Tab will change anything about the starting XI. I mean, why would he? The team is coming off a win in which the Dynamo scored the most goals in club history on the road (5). It will be interesting to see if Memo comes to help on defense to play out of the back