First Dynamo win since July

5 Kicks: Manotas, Ramirez lead Houston Dynamo to 2-0 win over Minnesota

Credit: Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo broke a seven-match winless streak with a 2-0 win against Minnesota United FC on Wednesday night at BBVA Stadium. The win is the first at home since July 3 against the New York Red Bulls and the first victory in league play since July 20 at Toronto. The result also marked the first win under Interim Head Coach Davy Arnaud.

Here are five observations from the September 11 result on "First Responders Night."

1) A win long worth the wait

It wasn't pretty, it wasn't easy but it was a much needed result to break free from a bad spell. More so than ending a seven -match winless streak, it was about the team turning around a stretch that saw them winless in 17 out of their last 20 dating back to May. Yes, the Dynamo began the season undefeated in 7 of their first 8 matches - the best start in franchise history. Cool. Anybody who was being honest in their analysis knew the team benefited from a home-heavy schedule to start the season and that the most challenging part was on its way.

Before the start of Wednesday's match, the club had a record of 2-12-1 (W-L-D) since returning from the Concacaf Gold Cup break. It was a similar summer dismantling to what happened in 2018, except that had makeup applied to it in the form of a U.S. Open Cup title.

After the team's shortcomings failed to be addressed, the team began to head towards its fifth playoff absence in six seasons. What the future holds is still to be seen but at least, for one night, Dynamo supporters were rewarded with the sweet taste of victory.

2) Making the switch to a two-forward formation

The 4-2-3-1 formation that featured two wingers and a lone forward had run it's course. It stopped working for the Dynamo a few games back. Truthfully, it was always a formation meant to favor the two speedy wingers Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto. The results were always going to be less favorable once players without the characteristics of Elis and Quioto, i.e. Memo Rodriguez, Tommy McNamara, etc., began to be inserted.

For whatever reasons, Davy Arnaud continued some of the habits of previous manager Wilmer Cabrera. That included playing in the 4-2-3-1. Arnaud had switched to a 4-4-2 during his debut as the interim, where the team came back from 0-2 down to a dramatic 2-2 home draw. He opted not to repeat the two-forward lineup in the two matches after.

Whether being forced by circumstances (the potential sale of Mauro Manotas and the international FIFA break may have played a part), Arnaud finally went to a lineup that placed his two best attackers on the field: Mauro Manotas and Christian Ramirez.

The resulting win may be a coincidence of that change but the Dynamo looked their best under Arnaud's tenure as head coach.

3) Alejandro Fuenmayor features in first MLS match since June

The 23-year-old defender was one of the better additions to the team during the 2017/18 offseason. The Venezuelan even started in 21 of 22 matches, the sixth most starts on the team. This season, he fell out of favor with former manager Wilmer Cabrera and thrown into the doghouse.

Fuenmayor had featured in 429 minutes and five MLS matches prior to the encounter with Minnesota. It was as if he was played out of necessity for lack of other options. In the Leagues Cup match in late July against Liga MX side Club America and on Wednesday night, Fuenmayor showed why he is one of the better players on the roster.

What happened in the past is done. What happens going forward is in the club's control and, given the proof over the last two seasons, Alejandro Fuenmayor has to be part of the team's plan for the future and the present.

4) Joe Willis matches career-high for wins in a season

Goalkeeper Joe Willis has been one of the more solid performers this season despite the blunders everyone remembers from his performances at Cincinnati and at Philadelphia. He's been a workhorse for the Dynamo. With the win against Minnesota, he matched a career-high nine wins in a singular season and could reach double digits before the year is over.

5) Arnaud turns the corner

Time will tell if Davy Arnaud's interim tag will be removed. As of now, he's the leading candidate for the permanent head coaching job. The biggest benefit that was always going to come from him was the union of the locker room. Now with his first win in hand, Arnaud has five matches to prove why he deserves the gig.

Dynamo player of the game: Mauro Manotas

A game-winning goal and an assist for Manotas makes him the Man of the Match. In every period of turmoil throughout his time in Houston, Manotas has been one of the few voices that gives it to you straight and doesn't spit cliches. That's the same personality he goes on the field with and that's why he's one of the league's better goalscorers.

Next match:

Saturday, September 14 at Vancouver Whitecaps FC (9:00 p.m. CT, KUBE57/TeleXitos 47.2)

GAMBLING GUIDE

Bookie Busters: Weekend vibes

Nattapong Wongloungud/EyeEm/Getty Images

Just when your heart started to develop a sense of emptiness as the confetti fell on Mahomes beautiful head of curls, you reminded yourself that the XFL was only a week out, and yes football would continue.

The opening weekend of games brings us 4 matchups on 3 different television networks giving fans opportunities to check out Vince McMahon's newly refined product. For the gambling fanatic, more action is never bad. For the fantasy fanatic, another league to dive into and search for diamonds in the rough.

DraftKings seems to agree and is offering a XFL $350K Kickoff Special with 100k going to first place.


We will attack soccer and hoops as always, play smart. There will be plenty of action. I'll list a few parlays over the weekend too.

New Plays

Coming soon

2/11 1241 CST

England league one

Peterborough vs Southend

Peterborough FH ML 3U

-1.5 3U

Game over 3. 3U

550 CST   2/10

Jazz / Mavs Over 217.5 3U MAX BOMB

Mavs TT over 108.5 1U


Timberwolves +9. If 8.5 buy the hook 2U


RADFORD @ WINTHROP over 141.5 2U



355

Renegades -6 Fh 2U XFL

337 CST

Parlay 1U

Grizzlies/Wiz FH over 117.5

ND/Clemson over 137.5

Renegades -6 FH XFL

2-9 336 CST

Notre Dame/Clemson

Over

137.5 3U

Previous Plays

AUSTIN PEAY @ TENNESSEE STATE Over 149 3U MAX BOMB

TEXAS TECH @ KANSAS (#3)2nd half over 72.5 3U MAX BOMB

Kansas TT over 38 3U MAX BOMB

618 CST

Minnesota U at Illinois Illinois -6 2U

For any questions or comments reach me @Jerryboknowz Twitter.

Be sure to check out my show MoneyLine with Josh Jordan on ESPN 97.5. We're on every Sunday from 10-noon, and we'll talk a lot of fantasy football and NFL gambling. Also, be sure to follow us @Moneyline975 on Twitter.

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