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)

Courtesy Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo were held to a 1-1 draw by the Portland Timbers on Wednesday night at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mauro Manotas opened the scoring for Houston in the 40th minute. Portland tied it in the 77th thanks to Liga MX's second top scorer for the Clausura 2019 season, Brian Fernandez, in his MLS debut.

Here are five observations from the win:

1) A missed opportunity

The Dynamo will lament dropping two points at home to a club that has never left Houston with a win. Add on top of that the detail that Portland has played its entire schedule, up to this point, on the road.

The Timbers should've been ripe for the pickings against a Dynamo that has been strong at home and had won every league match except one coming into this game. That non-win was a draw in the home opener against Real Salt Lake, nothing to get too worked up about as both teams were in early season form.

This draw will sting, however, because the Dynamo took the lead and had an opportunity to jump up to second place in the Western Conference standings. Clubs like D.C. United and Sporting KC, with an away game to Minnesota United sandwiched in between, are what's next on the schedule and Portland's performance will give away teams confidence to leave BBVA Compass Stadium with a positive result.

2) Beasley returns as part of lineup rotation

Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera made three changes from the starting XI at Seattle on Sunday. The lineup rotation is due to the team's schedule of three matches in a week.

The most notable of the changes was the return of DaMarcus Beasley at left back. The U.S. Men's National Team Legend and team captain had yet to play in league matches and was sidelined during the team's Concacaf Champions League elimination at Tigres UANL in March.

Aljaz "Kiki" Struna, one of the team's biggest offseason acquisitions, also returned to the starting XI being left out of the team that traveled to Seattle. Boniek Garcia also returned as a starter after featuring as a sub in the 1-0 away loss over the weekend.

3) Manotas the Timberslayer

Mauro Manotas now has seven regular season goals against Timbers FC, his highest against an MLS club. He's also enjoyed his only MLS hat-trick as well as an important playoff performance against Portland.

More to the context of this season, Manotas picked up his fifth goal to ascend as the team's top scorer. The Colombian continues his way towards another high scoring season as he complements the playmaking of Alberth Elis.

He scored with his chest which only further emphasizes his knack to find the back of the net no matter the fashion. He will be needed again on Sunday as D.C. United visit with one of the world's famed goalscorers in Wayne Rooney.

4) Dependence on Elis

As much as Manotas deserves praise for his goals with the Dynamo, it is Alberth Elis who has been the team's most valuable player. Elis has banked four goals and five assists.

Manotas himself has five goals and four assists but Elis would be missed more on the field if the team were to lose one of the two. Elis has been a player teams absolutely have to account for and, when he is contained - as we've seen in the two Dynamo losses this year and the draw on Wednesday, the team struggles to yield wins.

Nobody should be surprised that Elis has been the focal point of opposing defenses, it was expected. What is surprising is that the Dynamo have yet to respond to that strategy and punish teams for being asked to win without him - not to mention prepare in case of the Honduran's departure in the summer transfer window.

5) Big Joe with big saves

During Cabrera's tenure as the Manager of the Dynamo, the goalkeeper spot has always been up for debate and rotations at that position are not rare. Not this season.

Joe Willis has absolutely taken command of the spot both in league action and earlier in the team's Concacaf Champions League run. There is no question between his level of play and his backups.

The Dynamo would've dropped all three points at home without Willis on Wednesday. For that reason, he is the man of the match and an unspoken hero on the team sheet.

Dynamo player of the game: Joe Willis

Next up:

Saturday, April 18 vs D.C. United (7:30 p.m. CT, KUBE57) [ESPN+ for U.S. non-Houston markets]

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