A soccer rant

Can Dynamo gain more relevance in Houston?

Houston Dynamo hosted Columbus Crew SC in the first "End Cancer Night" at BBVA Compass Stadium.

Glenn Davis is the host of Soccer Matters on ESPN 97.5 FM every Tuesday 7-9 p.m. (podcasts) and a play-by-play announcer for ESPN, FOX Sports and local Houston Dynamo broadcasts. Davis was a professional soccer defender for the United Soccer League's Houston Dynamos in the 1980s and a youth coach for several years.

I am climbing up on the soapbox after seeing the attendance at both the Dynamo and Dash games this weekend in a city of 6.5 million people. This is a very general post that does not go in to details.

As a play-by-play commentator, I want to be calling games with a sold-out BBVA Compass Stadium showcased on TV. Why don't we believe we can be like Sporting Kansas City or Portland and sell out every match? Yes I want what Atlanta, Minnesota, Seattle and other markets have: pressure, fans, discussion, desire to make it all better and a esprit de corps with like minded individuals in larger numbers yet I feel we have become content.

Houston is a great soccer city but it is being judged in many cases for the attendance that we have had over the years in MLS, which has created a fatigue. We have many that pander to the MLS product instead of treating it professionally and talking pros and cons.

Every weekend bars are packed with fans of Real Madrid, Manchester United, Barcelona, Tigres and so on. Stop this nonsense that this is not a "potentially" great MLS city.

Stop believing that media will cover our sport outside of the big international matches. Relationships must be created with media and this will take time and effort to bring the Dynamo into the consciousness of our sports media landscape.

We are not entitled to coverage and it is time to change hearts and minds about our game.

So what is it WE can do IF this means something to you?

Support those that cover the sport, demand more from those that don't cover the sport. Support those that sponsor the sport. Attend games. Grow the soccer culture.

Why can't our supporters groups grow and swell to larger proportions? I want to see passionate groups like El Batallón and Texian Army extend and grow the game further!

You can also hold us all accountable including your two professional teams. Speak out, call my radio show Soccer Matters on ESPN 97.5 FM, I have a platform for you!

Healthy criticism means you have arrived! Above all, have fun.

Call other radio shows, talk with your friends, debate. I run in to people all the time that want to talk soccer and Dynamo to me.

The current Dynamo squad is arguably the most excited that we have had with pace, youth, a high-tempo game and yes they are getting results. Games are exciting at BBVA but don't think just winning will bring fans to a stadium - it simply is a component.

You are allowed to be critical and you are allowed to look at the team "through orange glasses," this is your choice and this is the beauty of supporting your team and being a fan.

Lets end the excuses. Excuses mean you do not have answers or solutions.

Remarkably, I heard someone say to me the other day that the Dynamo should be moved to St. Louis. I was stunned. I have heard those supposedly involved in our sport tell me "Houston is not a good soccer market."

You can be a part of making MLS more relevant in this market if you believe in the product! If you don't, I want to know why and the Houston Dynamo need to hear you.

We have a lot to be fortunate for in this city with two professional teams, regular stops for huge international matches and an amazing youth and adult soccer community. The ceiling is high with so much potential on all fronts.

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)

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