FM15: Houston Dynamo in the Texas Derby

Having opened the season with two wins and a draw, the Dynamo next host FC Dallas in the Texas Derby, and surely that is worthy of a post all its own. Following their loss to FC Dallas in 2013, the Dynamo saw El Capitan moved up to Frisco and into the filthy paws of FC Dallas. One of my objectives this season is to bring the cannon back to Houston where it belongs.

First, however, I get the message that a lottery will be held for the rights to youngster Kane Gjertsen (a regen). Nick Kowba tells me the 19-year old looks promising, so we put our name in the envelope and we win his rights. Once he is in practice, however, my coaches are not so sure that he has what it takes. I decide to ship him off to Pittsburgh to get some playing time.

Also, my request to Chris Canetti for a technical director is met when Jeff Agoos is hired. I decide not to take his many national team disasters (including the own goal against Portugal in the 2002 World Cup) against him and determine to establish a good working relationship.

On to the festivities; Dallas comes in with a quality team and a fair amount of pace, something my back line (particularly David Horst and Jermaine Taylor) have struggled with this season. However, before Dallas can even begin to think about attacking, the Dynamo are on the scoreboard. The goal comes in the 2nd minute from Boniek Garcia, who is thriving so far in a more advance position as a ramdeuter. He is set up by Bruin who finds lots of space in front of the back four and is able to pick out Garcia’s diagonal run into the box.

Five minutes before halftime, the Dynamo go two in front courtesy of Bruin’s 4th goal of the season. The creator is Giles Barnes; his presence draws the Dallas defense out and he is able to play Bruin through on goal. While Bruin has missed a number of one-on-one’s in the early season (he is Bruin after all), he converts this one and it is 2-0.

Dallas comes out from halftime focused and ready to play. They have had their chances in the 1st half, with Blas Perez getting behind the back line several times, but Tally Hall has been up to the task so far and when he hasn’t, the defense has been able to recover enough to force weak shots.

With Dallas pushing hard, however, it is only a matter of time before a weak Dynamo defense concedes. When it happens, Perez is the one who generates the opportunity by pulling the defense to him then playing Andrés Escobar in on goal. With Taylor out of position, there is not much that Hall can do. 2-1, Dynamo lead with most of the half left to play.

The Dynamo would see out the remainder of the match, however, to secure the 2-1 win. In the end, it was a very even match with possession split down the middle 50/50 and shots fairly even (10/5 for the Dynamo, 12/4 for Dallas).  One of the players who was key to the match for the Dynamo was Luis Garrido. The Honduran broke up the Dallas attack early and often, intercepting passes all over the pitch and with a number of key tackles.

Credit: Football Manager 15

With the win, the Dynamo are now 3 wins, 0 losses and 1 draw on the season. It is still early, but standout players have been Barnes and Garcia in their ability to create. The benefactor has been Will Bruin; the forward has 4 goals on the season already and many scoring opportunities. On the defensive end, Taylor has played reasonably well and Hall has been solid in net.

Results have gone in our favor so far, but we face a challenging stretch now of three consecutive away matches against New England, Philadelphia and New York. Any slip up here could spark a run of poor results whereas as continued strong performances could propel us to the top of the table.