HOUSTON – Houston Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera didn’t recognize his team during the first 15 minutes of the second half Saturday.
It was during that stretch where Minnesota United FC took advantage of some shoddy Dynamo defending to score two goals and fashion a 2-2 draw that kept Houston unbeaten at home but no longer perfect at 3-0-1. Afterward, the talk from Cabrera and the players was about answering the million-dollar question.
What’s happening to the Dynamo in the second half and why are they giving up soft goals?
“We need to get better in our duels. We need to get better in our 1v1 [defending]. We need to have a more solid defense,” Cabrera said. “We can’t lie, we’re giving the ball away too much. We’re one of the teams that has given up a lot of goals. After Minnesota, it’s us.”
Houston has given up 11 goals this season and Cabrera considers most of them soft, including the ones the Dynamo surrendered Saturday. Cabrera does takes full responsibility and puts the blame on himself and not the players.
Alberth Elis, who notched his second goal of the season and had another one waved off for offside, says the team dropped their intensity in the second half and the Loons jumped on them.
When asked to boil down the Dynamo’s defensive woes into one word, each Dynamo player had a different answer. Mauro Manotas, who scored his first goal of the season, says the team needs more character.
“We’re winning in the first half and then we just relax,” Manotas said. “We need more will and attitude entering the second half.”
“It’s hard to pinpoint it really,” Willis said. “If we could pinpoint it then we’d probably be able to fix the problem.”
Minnesota forward Christian Ramirez, who scored in the 46th minute to start the Loons' comeback, said the Dynamo fell asleep on his goal. That says a lot about Houston’s defensive woes in the second half.