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)

Credit: Wilf Thorne/Houston Dynamo

Houston Dynamo Senior Vice President/General Manager Matt Jordan addressed questions from fans during the first hour of Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis on Tuesday night. Among the topics of conversation were potential player signings, concerns with player development and club operations.

The following are excerpts from the Q&A with callers to the program:

Potential Transfers

On why the Dynamo has not gone after a big name player that can fill BBVA Stadium

We're very open and we have had discussion with "big name players" ... For us, it's about getting the right players and I truly believe, through my experiences, you also have stars that grow within the league. We've seen that with our team with Alberth Elis, with Mauro Manotas - from my time in Montreal, we saw that with Ignacio Piatti. These weren't "big name stars" but they became "big name stars" so we look at all of it. We look at making our own stars, we look at some players that have been on the biggest stages and maybe a bit older but, for us, it's analyzing what's the right fit.

On the suggestion of a player like Mexico National Team Captain Andres Guardado

A lot of fans will say, "bring a big name, a Messi or Ronaldo" and that's not always realistic in the world of soccer but those are the types of profiles we do continue to look at along with making our own stars as well, which I think we've done a good job of with the two players I mentioned, who are stars in the city of Houston now.

On the reports of Cruz Azul's interest in Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas

We're getting interest in a lot of our young talented players. The two players that everyone talks about is Mauro Manotas and Alberth Elis, there's also a handful of other players that we get inquiries of from abroad. A lot of the teams in the Mexican league follow our teams very closely and Cruz Azul did express interest in Mauro... [a potential transfer] has to make sense for the player, it has to make sense for the club

Player Development

On the investment in the Houston Dynamo Academy

With the support of our ownership group, over the last 18 months, have made significant investments in the academy. We hired a new academy director in Paul Holocher, we brought on what I believe are some of the brightest young coaches in the Unites States. We've really worked very hard to strengthen our partnerships and our strategic alliances here within the city of Houston, which I believe has really been a downfall of ours in the past.

On the possibility of having a locally-based USL team

We have. One thing I can tell you, we have our USL players, our academy players, our U23 players in and out with the first team all the time. With the Open Cup, we brought up several of our USL players. You'll see a couple of our USL players come up for our League's Cup game as well... of course, it's more ideal to have it next to our first team field but we're very proud of the partnership in the [Rio Grande] Valley.

Club Policies

On the Dynamo's scouting system for recruiting players for the first team...

We do have a scout in Europe that's paid by us, we have a scout in South America that's paid by us and I also have a full-time scout and analyst, here, that is in Houston working with us in our recruitment department.

What we do is we go through the annual scouting calendar, we prioritize what events we need to hit. Generally speaking, I only travel when we get to the point - myself or [Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera] or both of us together, a lot of time we'll travel together in the offseason. We only really travel when we get to [final stages of a transfer].

We use our regional contacts...What I really focus on is having one key contact in each country and, a lot of times, we go after the player, it's not that the player is presented to us by the agent. [Recent signing Jose Bizama] is a prime example, we went after Bizama and we approached the club through our process. Now, there's times where a player is presented to us as well, but more often then not we utilize those regional contacts in each country. There's a lot of times, with many of our players, we've identified them or we've gone after them when they're, maybe, not for sale and that's when the grinding starts to take place for the negotiation.

On the club hosting a town hall meeting with supporters

In this moment, I can't speak for ownership but I have no problem being in any setting and fielding questions about the team for the fans.

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The entire conversation is available on the July 16, 2019 episode of the podcast, which can be heard on iTunes, Google Podcasts and www.podcastarena.com/soccermatters/

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