The winning across all competition continued for the Houston Dynamo Saturday night as they defeated Atletico San Luis from Liga MX 1-0. The Dynamo Charities Cup match keeps Houston game active as they prepare for the restart of the MLS season next weekend. At the same time it brings up some relevant questions.
Atletico San Luis was not the most prestigious of the Liga MX teams we could have scheduled considering they sit 10th in their standings. Meanwhile Pachuca who is first in LIga MX played Austin FC on the same night and Austin sits fourth in the MLS Western Conference and Houston seventh. So how much credence should be given to this match. Does Houston get better playing a team like ASL or just feels better?
These questions need to be asked as the team looks to the future. The 11th edition of the Dynamo Charities Cup allowed the Dynamo to use 23 different players which was a plus for players needing to get game minutes ahead of next week's MLS restart. From that standpoint, there is credence to be given.
It is a game though where we should not really feel good about winning, After all, you beat a team with eight losses in 17 outings this year. A team with a goal differential of minus one. ASL is a team that you should beat. One should feel worse if they had lost the match.
Coming into the match, Atletico San Luis was winless entering the Liga MX break. During that span, their goal differential was zero as they scored ten but also surrendered 10 goals. So it was more disappointing to have six shots on goal and only finding the back of the net once. With a team that has surrendered multiple goals in 12 out of 17 matches this season, you should do better than one goal.
Outside of getting players minutes, Houston did not really stretch itself against a quality opponent. If you play someone that is similar to you in nearly every way, shape, and form then are you really going to get better. If you slip by that same opponent rather than beat them decisively, what have you gained?
Before Houston went into this downward spiral from which they are trying to recover, they scheduled quality opponents. Premier League sides Aston Villa and Man City are two teams that quickly come to mind. If you lose to a quality opponent, you learn substantial tangible and intangible things about your team.
Considering that Houston Scheduled ASL before their rival Austin FC scheduled Pachuca, the Dynamo could have played a better opponent. Yes, they could have lost 4-1 as Austin FC did but they would have received some idea of much work they have to do to beat a quality opponent. Yes, they would have had to play their starters longer if they they wanted to really use this game as a stepping stone. From one writer's perspective, this was more about getting player's game action minutes then it was about discovering how close you might be to where you want to be. The game had nothing to do with winning or losing. We would have received the same answer from the Dynamo head coach after losing to a quality opponent as we did beating Atletico San Luis.
“The culture that we want to implement in this club is to win. So, whenever we step on the field, whether it is five on five or a scrimmage, a Charity Cup, MLS game, we play to win. I think that’s the mentality here, that we have in our locker room, in our club. So, to your question, we are always going to step on the field with that intention.” Paulo Nagamura