Houston 2, Dallas 1

5 kicks from Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas

Mauro Manotas scored a double in the Houston Dynamo's 2-1 win over FC Dallas. Photo by Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo.

The good times roll on for the Houston Dynamo who sit top three in their conference, and top five in the overall MLS standings, after a 2-1 win over Texas rivals FC Dallas. Mauro Manotas scored twice in the victory that gives Dynamo fans bragging rights until the next Texas Derby match in August.

Here are five observations from Saturday's match:

1. Points keep coming at home

This one was close but, in the end, the Dynamo were able to take the full three points and better their home record to 5-0-1 (6-1-1 overall). The Dynamo have taken advantage of a favorable home-tilted schedule by picking up 16 of the team's 19 total points at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The win was also the team's fifth consecutive at home and, with the summer heat on it's way, there's no sign of that streak, or at least their six-match unbeaten streak, ending soon. From what we've seen through 10 weeks of MLS, there's no reason to think the Dynamo should falter to Portland, D.C. United or Sporting KC - the three opponents before the two-week Gold Cup break in June.

Still, there's no reason to let up or get overconfident considering the road-heavy second half of the season. Before their next home game, the Dynamo head to Seattle next weekend for a match they are not expected to win.

2. Disaster avoided in the final minutes

The Dynamo were in control for most of the match against FC Dallas. The final moments generated an 87th minute Dallas goal that narrowed the gap to 2-1 before an offside call in the 90+7 minute saved the Dynamo from a 2-2 result.

The biggest cause for concern from the Dynamo is that they haven't stomped on the throats of their opposition when given the chance. Four of the team's five wins at home have been by a margin of one goal with the only other being by two.

The team has shown opportunities to be more aggressive but have played more conservative - at least in the previous matches. This team has every opportunity to pose more danger, especially with the qualities of their three best attacking players, and their hesitation to do so is what hinders them from being one of the elite teams in the league.

3. Manotas record-chasing season rolls on

Manotas regained his confidence last week in the 2-0 win over Columbus and added two goals to this account. The first came off in the 20th off a penalty he shot with plenty of power to avoid being saved by FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez.

The second goal comes on a transition play that saw the team go from defending a corner to extending their lead in the matter of seconds. His simple touch, one with conviction, was a perfect display of the confidence he has regained after going quiet for a few games in terms of goals.

This performance puts Manotas back on track of fulfilling one of the goals set in preseason - to become the club's all-time leading scorer. He could very well reach Brian Ching's record by the end of the year and he plans to do so sooner rather than later as he alluded to post-game:

"I want to break whatever records I have left this year and that has to do with the amount of goals I score. I hope to continue doing that and leave my footprint on the team at the end of the year."

4. Memo gets first game-winning assist

Midfielder Memo Rodriguez picked up his second career assist when he set up Mauro Manotas for the Dynamo's second goal in the 58th minute. The homegrown from El Campo, TX is playing his best soccer in a Dynamo jersey and continues to added his first game-winning assist to his list of accomplishments.

Rodriguez has shown his drive after being considered for only 645 league minutes in 2018. The 23-year-old has taken full advantage of Romell Quioto's absence due to injury and stated his case to be one a starter.

His qualities are different from Quioto, he doesn't have the speed (few do) to be elusive so his game consists more of controlling the ball and setting up his teammates with precision. It remains to be seen how long the Manager will continue to start him with the return of Quioto but Rodriguez certainly gives the team a different element in attack, one that allows the team to breathe and pace themselves.

5. Quioto returns

Honduran forward Romell Quioto returned to the field after suffering a right knee injury during national team duty in the March FIFA International window. It was Quioto's fourth appearance this season (third off the bench) and first since the 3-2 win against Vancouver on March 16.

He almost bagged a goal two minutes after entering the match, which proceeded to be called offside. Even though he didn't appear on the score sheet, his return marks an immediate plus to the attack because of his unique speed.

Quioto's return gives the Dynamo two terrifying options for opposing defenses when both he and Alberth Elis are on the field. When one is out, the Dynamo just aren't the same team - nevertheless when both are unavailable.

Dynamo player of the game: Mauro Manotas

Next up:

Saturday, May 11 at Seattle Sounders FC (9 p.m. CT, KUBE 57)


5 kicks from Houston Dynamo's 2-1 win over D.C. United

Credit Trask Smith/Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo withstood Wayne Rooney's D.C. United plus an injury to star player Alberth Elis on their way to their seventh win of the season. El Campo native Memo Rodriguez and off-season signing Thomas McNamara scored in the 67th and 68th minutes, respectively, to lead the club to a comeback victory.

Here are five observations from the win:

1) Call it a comeback

HIGHLIGHTS: Houston Dynamo vs. D.C. United | May 18, 2019 youtu.be

Both the Dynamo and D.C. United were undefeated this season in matches where they took the lead first. Houston's record was 1-1-2 when giving up the first goal.

On Saturday night, they didn't need to rely on the advantage of opening up the scoreline. Wayne Rooney scored the match's first goal right after the start of the second half before the Dynamo turned on the pressure in attack.

Perhaps the most impressing part of the result was doing it without the wide threats of Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto on the field. Instead it was their substitutes, coincidentally, that drove home the victory.

2) Winning without Elis

Alberth Elis took a headbutt to the side of his skull at the start of the match when he and D.C. United defender Steve Birnbaum jumped to dispute a ball in the air. Both players were taken out to the sidelines to get checked, Birnbaum had his head taped after bleeding, and were eventually allowed to return.

It would be minutes later that Elis asked for his substitution, which came in the 11th minute, and was subsequently taken to the locker room for a further evaluation. Despite passing the MLS concussion protocol, the Honduran playmaker wasn't well enough to continue the match.

Elis has been the most influential player for the team this season and a win without him will be a confidence booster. The big question now will be how long the team will be without one their most important contributors.

3) Memo leads the way

An inspired Memo Rodriguez was key to the Dynamo overturning the deficit at home, helping the team avoid a three-match winless streak. The homegrown midfielder took the responsibility of providing a spark in attack by creating his own shooting opportunity.

His goal in the 67th minute injected energy into the crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium and into his team. The Dynamo quickly went for another score and got it just a minute later.

With five goals and two assists, Rodriguez is enjoying his best season for the club. He'll likely pass his career high for minutes played in one season during the first half of the following match - eight games sooner than what it took him to reach that mark last year.

4) A win for Maynor

Defender Maynor Figueroa missed Saturday's match due to his father's passing on Wednesday night. The Honduran defender was on the field for the Dynamo against Timbers FC when the news broke in his home country.

The club showed solidarity with the seven-year Premier League veteran by dedicating the match to him in their pregame team photo. Figueroa joined the team in the off-season after three years at rival FC Dallas and has appeared in the majority of the Dynamo starting lineups this year.

Alejandro Fuenmayor took Figueroa's place in Saturday's starting XI and is expected to continue until Figueroa's return. The Dynamo have two league games left before this summer's Concacaf Gold Cup, a tournament Figueroa is expected to feature in for Honduras.

5) Rooney draws crowd but no sellout

Manchester United and England National Team Legend Wayne Rooney was in town with D.C. United. His appearance, unfortunately for the Dynamo, did very little for the gate in comparison to the visits of other league draws like LA's Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Several Manchester United jerseys were seen in what was announced to be a crowd of 15,811 attendees at the 22,000 capacity stadium. That number is only the third highest crowd seen this year after the opening match and the derby against FC Dallas.

The three-time World Cup veteran and former UEFA Champions League winner held up his end with a goal in the 46th minute and, despite the loss, has helped D.C. to a top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Still, hope is bleak if a player of his stature has that little effect on the overall Houston soccer market - if they even knew he was in town.

Dynamo player of the game: Memo Rodriguez

Next up:

Saturday, May 25 at Minnesota United FC (7:00 p.m. CT, KUBE57) [ESPN+ for U.S. non-Houston markets]

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome