Elis returns for rivalry match

5 kicks from Houston Dynamo's 1-1 draw with Sporting KC

Credit: Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo were held to a 1-1 draw by rivals Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. On a night where Booker T's Reality of Wrestling hosted a show outside the stadium prior to the match, Alberth Elis came up with his best "scissors kick" to secure a point at home.

Here are five observations from the draw:

1) Elis continues to show his worth

MLS All-Star candidate Alberth Elis missed the previous match due to a concussion sustained two weeks ago in a home win against D.C. United. It took him a little while to get into this game but, once he did, he ended up salvaging what could've been a worse result.

The 23-year-old Honduran has been the engine behind the Dynamo's 21 goals this season. He appears on the stat sheet with five goals and six assists but has been influential on 15 occasions that the team has found the back of the net.

Fans continue to worry about the uncertainty of his future with the team with the expectation that a European team may pry him away this summer. Whether the future sees him depart or stay, the Dynamo would not as good as the have been, so far, without him.

2) Attacking trio shows rust

The Dynamo featured forwards Alberth Elis, Mauro Manotas and Romell Quioto in the starting lineup for only the third time this year in regular season play, sixth across all competitions. Their previous start was short lived after Elis left the match with a concussion 10 minutes into the match.

On Saturday night, there was evidence of how dangerous the Dynamo can be with their three best attacking players on the field. They were rusty, however, and could never deliver the final result.

This attacking trio can be one of the most fearful in the league again, if and when they finally are able to garner some consistency. Elis and Quioto now head to international duty with Honduras and what happens upon their return is a wild guess.

3) Midfield maestro MIA

Tomas Martinez arrived with plenty of pomp and circumstance in the summer of 2017. Dynamo fan was enthusiastic to finally get the number 10 that they clammored so much for and even more so in one that was a product of one of Argentina's top clubs.

The former River Plate youngster had his best season for the Dynamo last year with a team-high 13 assists. This year, is a different story.

Martinez's one assist is unacceptable 13 games into the season and a solid indicator that the man responsible for creating chances is having a rough go at it. The wins prior were able to mask his absence but, with games getting more challenging as the season rolls on, the Dynamo are going to need more effectiveness out of their midfield - whether that comes from Martinez or elsewhere.

4) Defense getting shaky

The defense has to be looking as Satuday's draw as a loss. Kansas City only generated five shots, only one on target, but that's all they needed to take a point.

A main point of emphasis in the offseason, the defense has improved from their counterparts last season. The bad news is they are still a sure bet for giving up at least a goal per game.

The Dynamo will lose three of their defenders on the international break: Kiki Stuna, Maynor Figueroa and A.J. DeLaGarza. Frankly, it may be tough times ahead with a stacked summer schedule.

5) Halfway through the home schedule

The Dynamo have played half of their home schedule as of Saturday. They hold an undefeated home record of 6-0-3 and have picked up 21 of their 24 points inside the friendly confines of BBVA Compass Stadium.

Now comes the challenging part of the schedule with three straight road games awaiting the Dynamo at the end of this month. They'll have a bit more balanced schedule in July but their depth will be tested by the international call ups.

Dynamo player of the game: Alberth Elis

Next up:

Tuesday, June 11 vs. Austin Bold (7:00 p.m. CT, ESPN+)

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Life after Correa may not be the worst thing. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Carlos Correa is having a damn good year. The Astros shortstop is hitting .285 with 24 homers, 87 RBI, 72 walks, .862 OPS, a 7.2 WAR, and a .981 fielding percentage. In any other year, those would be numbers worthy of being in the mix for AL MVP (if it weren't for that dastardly Shohei Otani). Correa is also in a contract year. He and the Astros were far enough apart that the season started and he's held true to not wanting to negotiate midseason.

The offers of six years for $120 million and five years for $125 million were both rejected by he and his camp. They're seeking something much longer and for more money on the annual average. With the team unwilling to meet those demands, it seems as if the team and the player are headed for a split.

Lots of Astros fans are not happy with the prospect of Correa leaving via free agency. Some think the team isn't doing enough and should pony up to bring him back. Some feel Correa should take what they're offering because it's a fair deal that'll allow the team to sign other players. Then, there's that small band of us that are totally okay with him leaving.

One of the main reasons I'm okay with him leaving is the players the team still has under control that are potential replacements. Aledmys Diaz and Pedro Leon are the first two guys that come to mind. Diaz is a 31-year-old vet who's stepped up when he's called upon. He can slide over to third and allow Alex Bregman to play shortstop. Leon is the team's 23-year-old hot prospect who signed as an outfielder that the team has been trying to turn into a shortstop. If Correa were to leave, he could instantly plug the hole Carlos would leave behind. Either of those options lead to my next point of being okay with Correa leaving which is to...

...allocate that money elsewhere. Whether it's signing a replacement (at short or third), or boosting the pitching staff, I'll be fine as long as it's money well spent. Signing a shortstop or third baseman would determine where Bregman would be playing. If said player takes significantly less than Correa and fills 70-80% of his offensive shoes, it'll be worth it. Others will have to step it up. If they find a deal on a top of the rotation starting pitcher, that would be ideal as well. As I stated a couple of weeks ago, this team has employed a six-man rotation, but doesn't have a true ace. Spending anywhere from $20-30 million a year on a top-notch pitcher to add to the staff would bolster this staff in more ways than one. It'll finally give them the ace they lack, plus it'll bump all the young talent (still under team control) down a peg creating depth and perhaps even creating bullpen depth.

The only way any of this works is if Correa isn't back. Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander's money comes off the books also. Freeing up that much payroll and not re-appropriating those resources to ensure this team stays in contention would be a first degree felony in sports court. I don't think Jim Crane wants that for this team. I for sure don't think James Click wants that as his legacy. Let's sit back and watch how the organization maneuvers this offseason and pray they get it right.


Editor's note: If you want to read the other side of the argument, check out Ken Hoffman's piece from Tuesday.

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