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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Houston couldn't keep up

Astros fall to Blue Jays as Toronto gets homer-happy

Houston's bats couldn't keep up with Toronto's Saturday night. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With an offensive clinic in the opener on Friday night, which helped them handily defeat the Blue Jays, the Astros returned to Minute Maid Park Saturday with a chance to secure another series. Toronto had other plans, though, reversing roles with Houston by getting big home runs to even the series.

Final Score: Blue Jays 8, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 17-16, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Steven Matz (5-2)

Losing Pitcher: Cristian Javier (3-1)

Toronto flips the script and turns on their offense against Javier

Toronto flipped the script from the night before early in this middle game of the series, dealing damage to Cristian Javier, who so far in 2021 had been able to limit his amount of earned runs. After retiring the first four batters he faced, a one-out walk in the top of the second set up the Blue Jays' first hit of the night, a two-run home run by Cavan Biggio, giving them a 2-0 lead over Houston.

After a leadoff home run made it a 3-0 score, Javier would deal with the fallout of more walks in the top of the third, issuing two to set up a two-out two-RBI double to give the Jays a commanding 5-0 advantage. Javier would battle back and complete five full innings, getting one out into the sixth before a walk would prompt Dusty Baker to make the call to the bullpen. His final line: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 4 BB, 8 K, 2 HR, 91 P.

Alvarez keeps mashing as Houston tries to claw back into it

Javier would exit with at least some runs on the board in support of him, with Yordan Alvarez hitting a two-run opposite-field homer in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to three runs. Alvarez accounted for another run in the next inning, coming through with an RBI-single to make it 5-3, which is where the game stood as Andre Scrubb would take over in the top of the sixth.

Scrubb finished that inning for Javier and returned for a 1-2-3 seventh to keep it a two-run game. Bryan Abreu was the next reliever, and he, too, was able to retire the Blue Jays in order in the top of the eighth. The Astros continued to chip away at Toronto's lead, getting another run in the bottom of the inning on an RBI by Yuli Gurriel to make it 5-4 heading to the ninth.

Toronto evens the series

Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a one-run game with a clean inning, but instead, two runners would reach on a walk and error before Joe Smith would enter to try and strand them. Instead, a two-out home run put the game back out of reach at 8-4, with Houston coming up empty in the bottom of the inning, setting up a rubber match in the finale.

Up Next: This series's third and final game will be an afternoon start of 1:10 PM Central on Sunday. Zack Greinke (2-1, 3.76 ERA) will try to add more wins to his record for Houston, while Nate Pearson will be making his 2021 debut for Toronto.

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