Houston hoped to secure a victory at home against LAFC after losing to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park, but instead, finish with a 1-1 draw and 1 point.
The first few minutes were sloppy on both ends as the teams struggled to transition the ball to the offense from the midfield, and failed to capitalize off opportunities through ball possession.
LAFC were without a few players due to injury which included designated player Carlos Vela (right quad), Erik Duenas (ankle injury) and Mohamed Traore (knee injury).
The Black and Gold had the first scoring opportunity in the 12th minute as Eduard Atuesta delivered a ball to Diego Rossi on a one-on-one sequence against Marko Maríc. Rossi’s shot took off and slid just under the Dynamo goalkeeper, but Maríc was able to get a hand on it and deny the Uruguayan from opening up the scoresheet.
Houston then tried to capitalize a few minutes later following a corner kick from Memo Rodriguez, who sent the ball into play, finding Maxi Urruti, but his shot went across the goal, and thus floating out of play.
Quickly approaching halftime, the Dynamo found themselves with yet another opportunity following a corner kick. Urruti was able to win back ball possession and created a set piece for Tyler Pasher and Joe Corona, but had his right footed shot saved, ending the half scoreless on both sides.
A second half tale for Baird
At the second, the Dynamo continued to create decent chances and won their set pieces, allowing them to gather a few opportunities, but still struggled to find a goal.
That all changed in favor of LAFC when Latif Blessing and Mark-Anthony Kaye combined themselves centrally, before finding their teammate Corey Baird out wide. His shot then slipped inside the near post which could’ve been ruled offside, but the referee ruled him on.
Baird went on to score his second goal of the season, to keep the Black & Gold undefeated.
Both sides struggled in ball possession during long periods of time, and both scored their respected equalizers two-minutes apart from each other.
Fafa Picault served in a swerving cross from the left-hand side, for Tyler Pasher’s banger to be sent home to tie the game. The former Indy Eleven forward is making an immediate impact in the “Orange Crush.”
Former LAFC player, Christian Ramirez only saw playing time in the last minute of the game when he was subbed in for Picault.
The Dynamo will have their first derby against the Dallas on Saturday.
A frustrating loss for Bradley
Bob Bradley and the players expressed frustration after the 1-1 draw against Houston.
“We were just missing that sharpness,” Bradley said.
“The timing in some cases, and in some cases running out of ideas. I think we felt that part all day long.
We did really well to score the first goal, but then to make the big mistake a couple minutes later, allowing them right back in with the equalizer. Things like that – I think we are all a bit frustrated with.”
In just the third game of the season, LAFC continues to experiment with lineups which integrates new players such as Baird, and veterans who are just returning for inquiry such as Rossi.
“It wasn’t our best game as a team,” Baird said. “We didn’t connect passes the way we normally do and we gave up the possession more than we wanted to.
But, going away and getting the tie isn’t the worst thing in the world.”
Bradley balanced the pros and cons about this game. “I think we are still a good team. No doubt about that. I’m pleased that overall defensively we don’t give too much away.”
Rossi played the full 90 minutes, and had some dangerous moments.
“Diego has pushed himself to get back,” Bradley said.
“His fitness level is always at the top of players on our team, and getting him back on the field is obviously important for us.”
The Uruguayan forward has yet to score this season, but was able to link up in the attack with Baird.
“It is fantastic to have Diego back,” Baird said. “He’s a big part of the team. Having someone like that back is great for us and he gives us a lot of confidence on the field.
He is going to produce, create chances and score goals.”
The Escondido native himself has proven to be worth the accolades, having scored two-goals thus far and has been a lethal weapon in the Black & Gold attack.
“He is doing well,” Bradley said about Baird.
“He works very hard, that helps us. He puts pressure on and makes deep runs. He does a lot of the little things like that. Overall he has been a good addition and we are happy to have him.”
Up Next: L.A. Derby
LAFC’s next match will be the next installment of the L.A. Derby on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park.
“Of course, ‘El Trafico’ is special for all of us,” Bradley said.
“They have all been big games, but that is a big game.”
It will mark Baird’s first match against the cross-town rival.
“I’m looking forward to the atmosphere,” Baird said.
“From the outside, you see the excitement, the drama and the intensity and emotion that is in that game.
For me to get to experience that, I am very excited.”