The Houston Dynamo showed glimpses of how good they can be when they faced CD Aguila of El Salvador on Saturday night in the second annual Dynamo Charities Cup. Starting a lineup filled with backups and three players on trial, Houston managed to win 4-0 in front of a crowd of 11,843 at Robertson Stadium.
The team demonstrated an ability to move players around, create space, open up lanes, and seemed to remember how to pull the trigger and shoot again. Altogether, the game was an impressive display against an unimpressive opposition, and while CD Aguila is a decent team, the Dynamo's control of the game was never seriously threatened.
Let's take a look at the good and bad from last night's game to see what the Dynamo can take away from the Charities Cup.
Four Goals, Five Assists
Four different Dynamo players managed to score four very different goals against CD Aguila. Joseph Ngwenya's opener came after he exploited space on the right side of the box, shook off a defender, and fired past Miguel Montes. The composure and skill Ngwenya showed should give Dynamo staff and fans hope of good things to come.
Midfielder Corey Ashe displayed some of the skill he is capable of with the second goal of the night. Ashe received a great pass from Francisco Navas Cobo on the left side of the pitch, drove to the end line, and looked like he was going to square he body and cross back into the middle. Instead, he saw the keeper come off of his line to intercept the would-be cross and decided to test the keeper near post. The shot was perfect and he scored from a difficult angle. This goal was exceptional both because of Navas Cobo's pass and for the vision and skill Ashe showed. If Corey Ashe can keep these displays coming then he may take that starting spot back from Danny Cruz.
The third goal of the night was a great team effort between Brad Davis, Luis Angel Landin, and Dominic Oduro. Buildup play came from the middle of the pitch as Brad Davis drove the ball through the Aguila defense and passed to Landin. Landin then slowed down the pace of the ball and pulled defenders out of position before passing to Oduro who showed patience and composure on the ball before firing it into the back of the net. For Oduro, this goal has to mean a lot to his confidence as he is typically inconsistent in front of the goal. What makes it even better is that Oduro showed patience and took his time before picking out his spot and firing a shot. Oduro will have to show this composure throughout the rest of the season if he wants to continue to score goals.
The final goal of the night was all about a more fit looking Luis Angel Landin. The Mexican international came in late to the game and was, surprisingly, able to interject some life and mobility into the match. The goal came after the forward picked up a penalty in the box when he was brought down from behind by the Aguila defense. Brad Davis typically takes penalty kicks for the Dynamo, but Landin stepped up and converted the penalty with a great shot.
Looking ahead, Houston will need these players to step up and score more goals if they want to stay in the playoff race.
Dominic Kinnear decided to start all three trialists and had them play for the majority of the game. All three impressed in different ways and look like they could be beneficial to the squad in their own ways. Most impressive though, was central attacking midfielder, Juan Manuel Quevedo, who consistently pushed the ball through the middle of the field as he creating attacking chances. Quevedo's distribution was solid and he clearly showed an ability to see the pitch well and where players would be. The midfielder also demonstrated an ability to take shots from distance and nearly netted a goal from 30+ yards out.
Anthony Obodai had a decent night in the midfield and did stop Aguila's attacks early on. A quiet night for him is not a bad thing as most coaches want their CDMs to put their heads down and get the work done, something Obodai had no trouble doing.
Kendall Waston showed that he has both size and speed with his play in the center of defense as he did well marking and chasing down players, preventing them from shooting. Waston's efforts were not overly impressive or unimpressive, but he got the work done and did his job well. He could be a good addition for a Dynamo team that will surely need another skilled defender as the season progresses.
Tally Hall Looks Solid
For the second friendly in a row Tally Hall started in goal for Houston. The Dynamo defense made his night relatively easy, but the young goalkeeper was forced to make a few decent saves. Hall's best moment of the night came when he stepped up on a 1-v-1 situation, closed down the attacker, made himself big, and had a great save to keep his clean sheet on the night. When it was all said and done, Hall had five saves in the match.
It's uncertain when Pat Onstad will retire, but as long as Tally Hall continues to play at the level he has displayed, he looks to be a great keeper for Houston's future.
While the majority of the night was positive for the Dynamo, there is a negative point that must be addressed. Houston's defense is still having issues with players getting in around and behind them and creating scoring chances. Tally Hall had five saves on the night, but most could have been avoided with smarter defending. The backline needs to work on communication first, and then work out their other issues. When the players are talking to each other, and the keeper is relaying information to them, the entire defense seems to do well. But the defense is breaking down when players are not communicating and are going on unecessary runs or are needlessly stepping up too early against the opposition's attack. Mental lapses have cost Houston multiple games this year and must be corrected now. If the Dynamo want to win games, the defense must figure out a way to communicate and work together again, or else they will continue to see better teams exploit them and score goals.
Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear: 'The did OK. It'd be nice to see them against tougher competition. I don't think it was exceptional competition, but it was a good result.'
Midfielder Corey Ashe: 'I think it's important that everybody step up. Young guys are going to have to step up. There's minutes to be had.'
HOU -- Joseph Ngwenya (Juan Manuel Quevedo, Richard Mulrooney) 16
HOU -- Corey Ashe (Francisco Navas Cobo) 28
HOU -- Dominic Oduro (Brad Davis, Corey Ashe) 67
HOU -- Luis Landín (penalty kick) 74
Saturday, June 26, 7:30 p.m., Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids, Robertson Stadium
While it is always nice to win games like this and to score impressive goals, the Dynamo need to be able to do it against MLS teams when games really matter. They will get their chance to carry some momentum from Saturday's game this weekend against the Colorado Rapids as MLS action resumes from the World Cup break. So far, the team has been consistently inconsistent all season and needs to correct their poor form quickly or they may find themselves too far behind the top of the standings come playoff time. The Rapids won't be an easy opponent, but the Dynamo has shown the ability to square up to physical opponents and create scoring chances. Look for more on this game later this week on SBNation Houston.
Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (Round 3)
Tuesday, June 29, 7:30 p.m., Dynamo vs. Miami FC or Tampa Bay Rowdies, Robertson Stadium
Action from the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup returns to Houston for the first time in three years. With a short turnaround time between this game and Saturday's game against Colorado, the Dynamo will be expected to field a mix of veteran players and young talent. Against Aguila we saw the young players' skills and their desire to prove they belong on this team, and they will have to carry that desire into the U.S. Open Cup tournament.