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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Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After the Mariners came alive late in Monday's series opener to hand the Houston the loss and keep their playoff picture hanging in the balance, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Tuesday to try and decrease their magic number. Here's how the middle game went:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 1.

Record: 28-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Casey Sadler (1-2, 5.40 ERA).

Both teams trade first-inning runs

The Astros struck first in Tuesday's game, not waiting around until the ninth inning to get on the board. Instead, they jumped out to an immediate 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the top of the first. The Mariners responded quickly, though, getting a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning before a two-out RBI-double of their own to tie it 1-1.

Astros score five in the sixth

The 1-1 score held all the way until the top of the sixth when the Astros would flip the script from the night prior, taking advantage of some mistakes by Seattle to put up a big inning. First, Michael Brantley started the inning with a solo go-ahead homer to make it 2-1. Then, Kyle Tucker would get his third hit of the night with one out before eventually scoring after a walk and two wild pitches, making it 3-2. With two walks to keep the inning alive and put some insurance runs on base, Martin Maldonado took advantage with a big three-run home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

Valdez finishes seven strong, Astros even series

After allowing the one run in the bottom of the first, Framber Valdez recovered and put together a solid outing on the mound. He allowed just five hits total, two of which came in the first, then back-to-back singles in the fourth and a single in the fifth, while otherwise keeping the Mariners at bay. He would end up completing seven innings of one-run baseball while striking out eight. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 108 P.

After Valdez, Enoli Paredes would take over in the bottom of the eighth, working around a leadoff single to get a scoreless inning to keep it 6-1. In the non-save situation, Josh James would come in for the bottom of the ninth and finish off the win for Houston.

Up Next: The finale and rubber game of this three-game set will start a bit earlier on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:40 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Nick Margevicius (1-3, 5.35 ERA) for the Mariners going against Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.90 ERA) for the Astros.

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