Soccer is usually an exciting game that will have you on the edge of your seat the entire game. However, that scenario is far from the case from Sunday's battle between the two lowest spending team Houston and RSL.
Now, moving on to the lineup, thanks to www.futbin.com, I was able to make the lineup using the Fifa 22 cards for our dynamo players.
Things I like about this lineup:
433 with a CDM in the midfield is the best possible formation that is available from our roster of players. Paulo Nagamura wishes for our fullbacks to push up and participate in attack and most of our chances from this game came from the wings and fullbacks.
Steve Clark, Tim Parker, Sebastian Ferriera, and Fafa Picault were the biggest names on this starting 11. Any success that would have came from this match would surely be driven by one of these 4 players. For that reason, I was paying close attention throughout the game, especially on our new multimillion dollar man, Sebastian Ferriera.
Dorsey at RB instead of Valentin. The former Portland RB, Zarek, has not had a great stint down here in Houston. Being almost entirely a defensive fullback, he doesn't seem to have the right qualities that our new head coach Paulo Nagamura is looking for out of his fullbacks. Dorsey, while not the most talented player on our roster, fits the system better than Zarek. Griffin Dorsey started every preseason match and recorded two assists. Neither Griffin or Zarek will be the longtime starter. The newest addition to our team is 27 y/o Brazilian RB Zeca, acquired on a free transfer from Serie B, the second division league in Brazil. Zeca will surely bring our defense up a notch, having plenty of experience in Serie A and in youth international teams. Zeca, along with former teammate Neymar, won the gold medal in the 2016 Olympics.
Things I dislike about this lineup:
The choice of midfielders. Our midfield is easily the weakest point on our team, and is among the worst in the league. That is not even my grievance. My issue is that out of our midfielders, Paulo Nagamura did not choose the best possible players from the pick. It should be pretty obvious that a midfield trio of Ceren, Vera, and Memo would be unable to create fluid chances. If it were up to me, I would have gone with Vera at CDM and Quintero paired with Coco Carrasquilla as the dual 8's. While defensively worse than the starting 11 midfield, this trio of players are far more capable of creating chances and moving th ball quick, which were two components lacking in the match.
Daniel Steres is my next issue. Because our other DP on the team, Teenage Hadebe, was involved with Zimbabwe in AFCON during pre season, the African CB was unable to start a single pre season match. Hadebe only managed to play 20 minutes for our last match against FC Dallas. Hadebe did not appear against RSL on Sunday. Steres is a new arrival coming from the LA Galaxy for $50,000 GAM and one second round draft pick in the 2022 Super Draft. The issue with Steres is that he appears to make one mistake per game. No surprise to me, Steres made a silly foul on an RSL attacker in the 12th minute which resulted in a yellow card for the Dynamo defender. The foul was aggressive and unnecessary. Hopefully we see Hadebe back in the lineup against SKC.
Corey Baird. After a hot start at RSL in 2018, Baird was named rookie of the year. Simmering down but still an effective player, Baird made his way to LAFC in 2021 for $500k in GAM. Spending half of a season in Los Angeles in 2021, Baird managed 3G and 2A in only 9 starts. Not too great but not bad by any means. Then the Dynamo swoop in the summer window and purchase Corey Baird for $750k in GAM. That is really expensive for a player of Baird's caliber. Since then, Baird has recorded 0G and 0A in 8 appearances. If I was head coach, I would have went with Tyler Pasher to start at RW. Just like the RB spot, there seems to be a new player coming to the team at the RW position. That is the 20 y/o Brazilian prospect from Flamengo in Brazil, Thiaguinho. The pacey Brazilian can play the wing position or the striker position if necessary. He should hopefully provide some competition to the RW position.
The first half was slow and sluggish. It was obvious to everyone that changes needed to be made at HT. However, I was unsure if there would be changes. Having Tab Ramos as coach for 2 years, I had became accustomed to 0 ability to adapt and change the plan. Much to my surprise Nagamura made two subs at HT. Coco coming in for Ceren and Zarek replacing the injured Dorsey at RB. There has been no update on the severity of Griffin Dorsey's injury.
The second half, while still slow, showed potential promise for goals from the Dynamo. Quintero came into the match near the 70th minute and almost scored a very impressive shot. Quintero approached the 30yd's from goal and skipped past a defender to make space for a shot. Darwin hit a curler from 25yds out and unfortunately the shot hit the back post. The RSL goalkeeper was glued to his feet.
A notable sub occurred near the 80th minute when Corey Baird made his way for Thor Ulfarsson. Thor is a 21 y/o striker who was selected 4th overall by the Dynamo in the 2022 Super Draft. Upon his substitution, Thor became the first Icelandic player to play for the Dynamo. Thor's appearance came as a surprised considering the fact that draftees picked by Houston either get loaned to USL or never get signed to begin with. The Dynamo selected then 20 y/o CB, Ethan Bartlow, 6th overall in the 2021 MLS Superdraft. Bartlow was known to be the best possible CB in the draft and has not yet appeared for the Dynamo, nor make it on the bench.
The whistle blows and the game ends 0-0. This result was disappointing as it was the home opener and the stadium had good capacity and a good atmosphere. Adding salt to the wound, this was a depleted RSL side, who had just lost their best player, Albert Rusnak, and also were missing their starting goalkeeper, David Ochoa. While the result was unfortunate, the performance from the Dynamo was an upgrade from last year. The Houston side won the possession stat pretty handily, beating RSL %61 to %39. For the most part, The Dynamo maintained control of the match and had the better chances of the two teams.
With this home draw, the Dynamo look to bounce back against Sporing KC, at Sporting KC. Yikes.
This has been Keeping Tabs, making sure tabs are kept. Enjoy your day.