It's been just over 36 hours since the Houston Dynamo lost a 3-1 road match to Austin FC. The loss still stings for those who expected a better showing after Saturday's performance. It is a disappointment that has come too many times over the last five or six seasons. Despite this there are three things we learned.
The best thing seen on Tuesday night was the insertion of Darwin Quintero in the 65th minute. It followed Herrera's entry in to the math at halftime. Fans were witness to some glimpses of what can happen between two aging veterans. Although their connection did not culminate in a goal, it did result in some dangerous opportunities.
"We became more creative, we became more dangerous going forward," shared Nagamura. "Hector (Herrera) is getting his fitness. (Darwin) Quintero, it is difficult for him to play three games in the week. I was pleased with the connection there with DQ and Hector. I think it is definitely something that will make us better."
We, also, learned that against good teams, Houston looks average at best. Austin's halftime adjustments put Houston on its heels. Much of the half was spent in the defensive third and nothing good ever comes of that. Good teams make you pay for failing to clear the zone and Austin did as expected scoring two amazing goals in a span of 13 minutes.
"Second half, we fell off the track a little bit – in terms of how we dealt with Austin's pressure while leading them to push us back and create chances," continued Nagamura. "To be honest we gave up a very soft goal with the second goal that they scored. Then we had to push the game out a little bit and we had to open ourselves up and that's when they scored the third. Overall, in the second half we didn't make enough defensive plays or offensive plays."
Finally and perhaps the biggest revelation is that Fafa Picault is becoming more of a liability than an asset. Over the last three games, Houston has found itself called for offside seven times. Picault has been whistled for four of those infractions including the no goal against FC Dallas. In the Austin game especially late in the match, Picault had no less than three opportunities where he was set free 1v1 with a defender and could not beat them. This cost Houston opportunities to get back in the match.
Houston will conclude their two game road trip in San Jose to face the Earthquakes on Sunday July 17th. Kick-off is slated for 8:30pm CT.