The Likeliest Outcome
Houston and RSL went head to head in a 0-0 draw. In fact, the Dynamo have failed to beat RSL in 11(!) straight matches following this result. This game was a testament of defense for both teams, with the keepers recording 9 saves in total. Steve Clark earned himself a spot in the MLS TOTW starting XI for his performance. Clark made an abundance of saves, two of which could have easily resulted in a goal.
Houston Dynamo DP center back, Teenage Hadebe, picked up an unexpected injury prior to the beginning of the match. The extent to his injury is unknown at the time of writing this article. Reports state that Hadebe could be out upwards to 6 matches, equaling around a month and a half. Teenage has been great to start the year, and has really corrected his sporadic and dangerous behavior. In 2022, the Zimbabwean defender picked up 11 yellow cards and 2 red cards. However, this season Hadebe has yet to register a single card. His absence in the starting XI was a huge concern heading into the match.
In place of Teenage Hadebe's was Micael, a twenty-two year old Brazilian CB coming from the ranks of Atletico Minerio in Brazil. This was his first ever start and only his second appearance, with his first glimpse of first team soccer spanning back in 2022. Needless to say, this was not the easiest of positions to find yourself in. Regardless of the circumstances, Micael had a standout performance. In the press conference, Ben Olsen sung his praises, mentioning how proud he was of Micael.
The team started the first half like always, playing with patience and intent. There was no mistakes but at the same time there was no real opportunities. Steve Clark was called into action early on in the match, when a floated ball into the middle found the foot of an RSL attacker in the midst of an acrobatic scissor kick. Clark made easy work of this difficult shot, keeping the score-line 0-0.
RSL came out into the second half looking much better than Houston. Mastroeni made tactical adjustments as well as changes to the lineup that Houston were unprepared for. The sudden switch in tactics left Houston on the backfoot for the first stretches of the second half. However, the defense stayed strong despite the effort in the RSL attack.
The heat and humidity played an enormous factor for both teams. Around the 75th minute, it was apparent that players were gassed. The intense pressing that was a factor in the entire match looked to have stopped has the stamina was drained from the players due to the climate. In fact, there was so much space awarded to both teams that players with the ball at their feet seemed to not know what to do. Overall, both teams looked satisfied with draw in the weening minutes of the game.
Houston registered a real opportunity to put the game away late into the second half. Amine Bassi played a ball centrally to which Corey Baird let run through his legs to send an ongoing Coco through on goal. There was a clear look from the Panamanian midfielder. Much to the dismay of the entire crowd, Carrasquilla skied the ball into the stands. This was possibly Houston's best chance of the half.
With neither team capitalizing on the MANY chances that were given to them, the game ended in an anticlimactic 0-0 draw. This felt like a missed opportunity for Houston to get 3 points as RSL has looked below average to begin the season. Ben Olsen noted that this was the first real test in the heat, so no doubt that the weather played a huge part in the result.
After this draw, Houston sit in 6th place with 14 points. The Dynamo have a busy week ahead of them as they prepare to face against SKC on Wednesday, May 10th. Just 3 days later, the Dynamo welcome Seattle into Shell Energy Stadium. Depth will be tested in this stretch of games.
This has been Colin with Keeping Tabs, reminding everyone to keep YOUR tabs. Until next time.