HOUSTON — Houston Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera said his side just want to play soccer, but that circumstances have made it impossible for them to do so.
The Dynamo have gone down at least one player to ejections in each of their last two home games – now back-to-back losses after Saturday's 1-0 defeat against Sporting Kansas City – in controversial circumstances.
And in the first half on Saturday, Dynamo centerback Alejandro Fuenmayor slammed his shoulder into Sporting’s 16-year-old Gianluca Busio on a late mid-air challenge, resulting in an immediate ejection.
“This is the second time we come over here [at home] and we get strange circumstances,” Cabrera said postgame. “So I cannot make any assessment about how we perform because we cannot perform with [that happening].”
It devolved from there for the Dynamo, as Cabrera himself was sent off at halftime. As the teams and coaches headed to the locker room, Cabrera exchanged words with fourth official Alejandro Mariscal, eventually earning an ejection from referee Chris Penso for what was termed "irresponsible conduct" in the tunnel.
“Because we’re against the wall, I’m not going to make any comment about anything else,” Cabrera said.
But for all the drama, Houston must quickly turn toward the next match: They face expansion side LAFC in a U.S. Open Cup semifinal on Wednesday (8:30 pm ET | USsoccer.com), with the winner facing the victor of Philadelphia's matchup with Chicago.
“First and foremost, we need to try and rest and have our mind clear,” said midfielder Boniek Garcia to reporters in Spanish. “We need to forget this difficult moment. Let us turn the page on this difficult moment that affected the whole team. We have an important game coming up that is crucial for us to try and aspire for a title this season. Obviously, we can’t let go of the opportunity for playoffs, since we have a long road left.”