ELIS INJURED IN COMEBACK WIN

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]

Wilmer Cabrera accumulated a record of 32-39-22 (W-L-T) in his two and a half years with the Houston Dynamo. (Manuel Gonzalez/Deporte Total USA)

Wilmer Cabrera's tenure as the Houston Dynamo Head Coach came to an end on Tuesday. The club announced its decision to terminate the Colombian's contract to move in a different direction with nine matches left in the schedule.

KFNC's Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis was the first outlet to speak to General Manager Matt Jordan about the club's "collaborative decision" to fire Cabrera following a run of three wins in its last 17 matches. [FULL INTERVIEW]

"In talking with the board, our ownership group - from [Monday] going into [Tuesday] morning - the decision was taken to move in a different direction and to provide a fresh perspective to the group," said Jordan.

"We have the same team that had the best start in club history this year and, I'd even argue that, with the moves we made in the summer transfer window [adding defender Jose Bizama, midfielder Niko Hansen and forward Christian Ramirez] we feel that we have a good group," added Jordan. "I don't think anybody believes that our record over the last couple months is a reflection of the quality of our group."

The Dynamo took advantage of a favorable home-heavy schedule to arrive with a W-L-T record of 7-3-2 at the league-wide break for the Concacaf Gold Cup. The team resumed league play in late June and is 2-9-0 since, with seven of 11 played away from BBVA Stadium.

Struggles on the road were part of the three seasons under Cabrera - going 1-9-7 in 2017, 2-10-5 in 2018 and are 2-10-0 so far. A near perfect 12-1-4 home record helped the team return to the playoffs as the West's fourth seed in 2017 but a six-loss home record of 8-6-3 in 2018 was too much to overcome.

Cabrera led the team to the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title, the club's first major championship since the 2007 MLS Cup. All five matches of that cup run took place at home.

Assistant Coach Davy Arnaud will assume the head coaching role on an interim basis for the remainder of the season. The Nederland, TX native had a 14-year playing career in MLS from 2002 to 2015 and was a member of the runners-up U.S. Men's National Team at the 2009 Gold Cup.

"He will be in consideration for the full-time position," said Jordan. "He's one of a handful of up and coming coaches, American-based coaches, that are part of a pool of coaches that will be rotating in and out with the [USA] Olympic team program."

The "extensive" search for the club's fourth full-time head coach, and third under Jordan's GM tenure, is expected to feature more competition than the two-Manager race between Cabrera and then-Interim Wade Barrett in 2016.

Off since Sunday's 2-1 loss at Philadelphia, the players return to first team training on Wednesday morning to prepare for Saturday's home match against the Colorado Rapids. The entire team was informed of Cabrera's dismissal prior to the team's official announcement.

Jordan will further address the technical staff changes in a press conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the team's training facility before fielding questions from the national media in a teleconference call an hour later.

"We're only six points out of the playoffs and we're right there," added Jordan. "The biggest thing for us, right now, is we need to see progression and we need to steadily chip away."

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