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It was a Dynamo night without Pozuelo in the Red’s lineup

27 de Julio de 2019 a las 06:50

Photo courtesy of Kevin Sousa, USA TODAY Sports
By Giancarlo Aulino
TORONTO. -  Toronto FC’s two-game winning streak came to an end as the visiting Houston Dynamo got the rare win on the road by defeating the Toronto 3-1. 
Toronto coach Greg Vanney made plenty of adjustments to his starting XI after the team’s mid-week victory over the New York Red Bulls; Jozy Altidore, Omar Gonzalez, Richie Laryea, Jacob Shaffelburg, and captain Michael Bradley were on the bench for tonight’s game. The adjustments provided a few players with a great opportunity to get some more playing time and make an argument as to why they believe that they should be regulars in Vanney's starting XI
Vanney’s staring XI featured a 4-4-2 formation with Quentin Westberg in-goal, Auro Jr, Justin Morrow, Laurent Ciman, and Eriq Zavaleta on the backline, Jay Chapman, Liam Fraser, Jonathan Osorio, Nick DeLeon in the midfield, and Tsubasa Endoh and the team’s newest addition, Patrick Mullins, as the strikers.
It didn’t take the Houston Dynamo very long to get on the scoresheet; midfielder Tommy McNamara found an open space past Toronto’s defense and struck the ball with his left foot past Westberg, to give his team the early 1-0 lead in the fourth minute.
McNamara scoring early was significant for the Dynamo because the team hasn’t fared too well on the road this season and the early goal could be a big confidence booster for the club. If Houston had better luck on the road this season, they most likely would be a playoff team in the MLS Western Conference.
A positive sign for Toronto was that they weren’t discouraged after the early goal and their players continued to show the dynamic offensively ability that they displayed in the last two-games.
In the 23rd minute, the Dynamo added another goal after they caught Toronto’s defense out of position while on the counterattack, which resulted in Tomas Martinez receiving the ball off a cross pass and striking it behind Westberg, to give the Dynamo a 2-0 lead.
Quentin Westberg made an incredible save in the 31st minute, when the Dynamo were in a two-on-one position once again, but Westberg’s big save reenergized the crowd at BMO Field. Toronto had some momentum after Westberg’s save and had a scoring opportunity when Nick DeLeon struck a powerful shot off a volley but was blocked by a Dynamo defender.
The whistle signaling the end of the first half sounded as the Toronto FC squad were looking at an uphill battle to start the second half; they were now down 2-0 and had to get an offensive spark off the bench. Although Toronto had the majority of possession, 59.3% to 40.7 %, they were unable to convert on any of their scoring opportunities and didn’t seem to have the same approach to this game as they did Wednesday against New York, leaving them in a bad position after the first 45-minutes.
“We didn’t come out with any energy in the first (half). Everything was very stagnate, slow, passive, too soft,” said TFC coach Greg Vanney. “(And) the goals we gave away were ridiculous.”
Vanney started the half by making two key substitutions; he subbed Jozy Altidore on for Patrick Mullins and Jacob Shaffelburg was subbed on for Jay Chapman. Altidore provided an immediate spark off the bench and provided the team with an offensive threat in Houston’s box. 
“It was the third game in a short period of time and in the summer months it’s hot, it’s humid. At the end of the last game a lot of guys’ tanks were very empty so I made a calculated move to try to bring an energetic group on the field to push the tempo at the start knowing that we would have guys to come on and try to push the game at the end with some extra quality,” said Vanney, explaining his lineup changes. “But (the first half) lacked intensity, it lacked direction and leadership on the field. It should have been a group of guys that were very eager to go out and really try to push it and prove something and it just came out real slow and passive.”
Unfortunately for Toronto, Houston would add another goal in the 57th minute when Mauro Manotas scored to give his club a 3-0 lead. Up until that point of the half, it looked like Toronto were showing signs of turning it around, but they were unlucky.
Toronto looked as though they were going to get a in the 72nd minute however, Dynamo defender Maynor Figueroa came up big by making the save on the goal-line and clearing the ball out of danger.
Fortunately for Toronto FC, they would finally get on the scoresheet in the 75th minute, when Jozy Altidore received a cross and successfully headed it past Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric, to get Toronto within two.
In the 82nd minute it looked as though Toronto FC were going to get within one goal however, the assistant referee ruled that Laurent Ciman was in an offside position when he headed the ball in the net. Toronto were unable to get another goal as their two-game winning streak came to an end.
“This was an opponent that was dangerous,” said Bradley of the Dynamo. “They’d not had a good run. (So) you know they came in with a chip on their shoulder and just ready to do anything possible to come away with points. It made for a tricky night.”
“It might have just been – and this is me included – that some guys weren’t ready to play. We didn’t have the right mentality going in and we maybe thought it was going to be easier than it was given they’ve been on the road a bit. But they came out and were better than us on the day,” TFC midfielder Liam Fraser added.
Toronto FC are back in action next Saturday, when they host Cincinnati at BMO Field.