The Dynamo Dos endured the heat and gutted out a 4-1 win over the visiting Real Monarchs. The win snapped a three game losing streak and Houston back on the right side of the ledger.
Winning 4-1 might not sound like gutting out a victory but not only did the team have to endure the heat of Houston but a mistake that lead to a level match at the half. Houston put together all three phases that head coach Kevin Bundy had talked about all week. Pressure the ball, counter the counter and protect the goal.
The opening goal in the 14th minute of play by Mujeeb Murana marked the fourth time this season that Houston had scored in the opening quarter of play.
“The goal, every game, is to try and score in the first 20 minutes," explained Bundy following the match. "If you can put a team under pressure by scoring an early goal, I think you have a real advantage and momentum going into the end of the first half and then even the second half. We scored and then we make a mistake."
That mistake came nine minutes after the Murana's goal as a counter attack led to Pedro Fonseca getting in behind the Dynamo Dos defense. Fonseca received the diagonal ball and beat the keeper to even the match. It set the tone for the remainder of the half causing Bundy to have to refocus the team at halftime.
“Yeah, he just said what I needed to say, we needed it and you could tell it worked," said forward Jacob Evans. "We came out fighting and it was a great reaction from the boys. It's tough to concede a goal like that, but it happens in football. It's game of momentum, right? So yeah, we got through that second half and we were spot on, we were so good in the second half, so yeah, it was a good good reaction.”
Evans led the fight finding his first goal of the season in the 58th minute. It came off a nice pass from 17 year old midfielder Brooklyn Raines who Bundy challenged in the halftime locker room.
"At halftime I challenged (MF) Brooklyn Raines," explained Bundy. "I didn't think he was playing forward enough. I thought he was constantly being safe, the ball would come in and he would play it backwards. He wouldn't see the space in behind. And I challenged him at halftime in front of the group that he's too good of a player to just connect passes. He needs to turn and he needs to attack the backline. And if you look at that goal, that's exactly what he does."
It worked because Raines' assist lead to three half time goals in a five minute span. Kyle Edwards converted a penalty kick in the 61st minute and newcomer Isaiah LeFlore scored two minutes later to bring down the Monarchs.
Leflore MLS Next Pro debut came in the 46th minute for Thiago. The Minneapolis native's scored just hours after signing his MLS Next Pro contract with Houston. Leflore described his emotions after the match as he became the third player for the Dynamo Dos to score their first MLS Next Pro goal in as many weeks.
“I can't even describe it," said the joyous Dynamo Dos defender. "It was a great feeling. I had a hunch I was going to play winger and I played there back in the day a little bit, and I had a funny feeling for the game. I just felt super energized and I kind of had a feeling I was going to score and I did and I’m super happy. But more importantly happy we won.”
Houston's Dynamo 2 travels to North Texas FC for a Friday night July 15, 2022 match. Kick-off is slated for 7:00pm CT.