DYNAMO GET FIRST THREE POINTS

5 quick kicks from Dynamo vs. Montreal Impact

Hometown talent Memo Rodriguez scored his fourth MLS goal in the 2-1 win over Montreal. Credit Manuel Gonzalez/Deporte Total USA.

The Houston Dynamo picked up their first three points of the season in a 2-1 win against the Montreal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mauro Manotas scored in his fifth-straight league game (dating back to last season) and also reached the mark of 50 goals across all competitions.

Here are five observations from Saturday's win:

1) First three points of the season

Victims of their own success, the Dynamo started the season with a congested schedule thanks to the added workload of playing in the Concacaf Champions League. That meant they would start the season two weeks earlier and have to balance the roster, playing their third match in eight days on Saturday.

Starting with zero points would not have been surprising. The Dynamo instead sit nicely with four points, a winning record through their first two games and all while managing several injuries as well.

2) Good when healthy

This one sounds like an obvious point but, as mentioned in the previous article, the Dynamo are very dependent on having a healthy roster. With "Kiki" Struna and Darwin Ceren back in the lineup, the team was much more solid defensively. With that ability to absorb pressure, the team can then transition into it's potent attack - which did much better than their previous two outings.

As of now, the Dynamo absences to account for are defender Erik McCue (left foot injury) plus midfielders Juan David Cabezas (right thigh injury) and Eric Bird (left ankle injury) - all listed OUT on the injury report. The team was also without midfielder Matias Vera and forward Ronaldo Peña who missed this match due to suspensions.

3) Homegrown talent steals the show

Manotas scored the game-winner but it was the 23-year-old El Campo, TX native Memo Rodriguez who scored the goal of the match. A rocket from outside the box nullified the Montreal goal that was scored just two minutes earlier.

The Homegrown talent - the most successful Academy product for the moment - has had nothing given to him through his up-and-down career, making Saturday's goal much sweeter for Dynamo fans who have rooted for his success.

It's only Rodriguez's fourth MLS goal and his second as a starter. More importantly, it's a reminder to the Manager that he has an option on the bench that merits more minutes on the pitch.

4) Looking ahead to Tigres

It's no secret that Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera wanted to give his team a chance to show their worth on Tuesday night in San Nicolas de los Garza, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. The Dynamo will travel down to the Monterrey area for next week's second leg in the quarter-finals of the Concacaf Champions League needing to make up a two-goal deficit.

Team Captain DaMarcus Beasley was rested for this game while Alberth Elis and Romell Quioto started the game on the bench. Tomas Martinez was subbed off in the 75th minute after missing the first leg. All of these names are expected to feature in the starting lineup against Tigres UANL.

The odds aren't in the Dynamo's favor but seeing their best up against a side like Tigres will be the best litmus test of what this team of young guns are capable of. We'll find out what they're made of on Tuesday.

5) Attendance still an issue

This one might be a common theme every week so get used to seeing it. The attendance for Saturday's match was 12,601 - at least 4,000 less than the season opener.

Whether the 4:00 p.m. kickoff helped or hurt is debatable. What's not debatable is the Dynamo's continued struggle to pull people in for games that don't feature big names. Next week, the team will host Vancouver Whitecaps FC with a 2:00 p.m. kickoff - the third time change in as many weeks.

Dynamo President of Business Operations John Walker may not have fully grasped the challenge that he would take on when he was introduced to the Houston club last November. He has said the right things in his first few months but how he deals with this issue is what will show if he was the right man for the job.

Dynamo player of the game: Mauro Manotas

Who else? The talisman for the Dynamo was having a quiet night until his goal in the 86th minute decided the result. His appearance on the scoresheet earned the team a point last week and three points this week. He'll be responsible for a lot more as the season goes on and that's why the team recently rewarded him with a three-year contract extension.

Next up:

Tuesday, March 12th at Tigres UANL, Concacaf Champions League quarter-finals second leg (10:00 p.m. CT, YahooSports.com/Univision Deportes)

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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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