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+)

The U.S. Women's National Team look to defend their FIFA Women's World Cup title and become back-to-back champs.

The Summer of Soccer is underway with the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, UEFA Nations League and international friendlies all part of the schedule this past weekend. The action is about to kick into another gear with the start of the Concacaf Gold Cup and South America's Copa America this week. Here is the week in soccer:

FIFA Women's World Cup

The premier women's international soccer competition kicked off in France with a 4-0 win by the hosts last Friday to open the competition. France is one of the favorites, and pressured to win, due to their role as the home team. The French women are also looking to match their male counterparts that became World Cup champions last summer at Russia 2018.

Germany, another of the favorites, opened their campaign with a 1-0 win over China while 2011 Champions and 2015 Runners-up Japan were held to a scoreless draw against what could be a Cinderella team in Argentina. England and Scotland faced off for the first time at the World Cup, men or women's, with the Lionesses winning 2-1 while potential dark horse Canada picked up a 1-0 win over Cameroon.

The defending champion United States joins the fray on Tuesday (2:00 p.m. CT, FOX) in what will likely be a multiple goal clinic against Thailand. For all the basics on the Women's World Cup, check out this article.

UEFA Nations League

The first ever Nations League, an attempt to get rid of "meaningless" international friendlies, looks to have been a rousing success and it could not have finished in a better way in terms of garnering media attention. European football's golden boy Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal, the current European champions, to a second European title in three years with a 1-0 win over the Netherlands.

Concacaf Gold Cup

The biannual tournament to determine the champion of North America, Central America and the Caribbean - the region governed by Concacaf - kicks off on Saturday. The United States enter as the defending champions but it is Mexico, the nation with the most titles in the competition, who enter as the favorites to win it all.

Mexico fared well with a 3-1 friendly win over Venezuela in Atlanta on Wednesday followed by a 3-2 win over Ecuador on Sunday up in Arlington, TX. The United States enter with doubts after a 0-1 loss to Jamaica in Washington D.C. and a 0-3 loss to Venezuela in Cincinnati.

CONMEBOL Copa America

South America also has a tournament kicking off this weekend in the revered Copa America. Hosts Brazil are always in the spotlight because of their star-studded squad and will be expected to win despite losing Neymar to injury this past week. Of course, as it has been for several editions now, the main storyline will be if Lionel Messi can finally lift a trophy with Argentina. With what many consider as the best in the world (and best all-time by others) in his prime, the time seems now or never for Messi to conquer the quadrennial tournament as well of the hearts of his country - and what a story it would be to do it on rival turf.

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