The Houston Dynamo began their MLS campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of Atlanta United on Saturday.
Andrew Wenger, Philippe Senderos, Mauro Manotas and Darwin Ceren all scored in the first half as Atlanta’s sophomore season began with a slump.
The Dynamo had the lead within five minutes cheap soccer jerseys as Alberth Elis shrugged off a challenge on the wing and fed Wenger in the six-yard box.
And though Juan Cabezas came off with an injury 10 minutes later, the Dynamo added a second when Senderos headed home Boniek Garcia’s corner in the 23rd minute.
The game was well in hand four minutes later, as Elis played a through ball into the box that was cut out but fell to Manotas to slot home for Houston’s third.
Ceren, who had come on for Cabezas, wrapped up the impressive first half by lashing home after Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan spilled a lofted free kick.
Atlanta, who also lost defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez to injury, started better in the second half when Josef Martinez drew a penalty, but he sent his spot kick off the post to sum up a disappointing opener for the potential title contenders.
Atlanta United hasn’t won a game in god-knows-when and we are currently sitting in dead last in MLS. Burn. It All.
That’s the theme of this week’s community player ratings, where y’all did not hold back (and rightfully so) on the travesty of a performance the team put in to open the 2018 season at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
It’s never good when your man of the match scores a 5 in the community ratings, but that’s exactly what we have here. Parkhurst didn’t even start the game, but appeared as a first-half substitute following the loss of Leandro Gonzalez Pirez to a hip injury. Parkhurst filled in admirably, but couldn’t help stem the tide from rising against Atlanta’s porous midfield and defense. Good job, good effort.
Last season’s Western Conference finalist Houston Dynamo continued their mastery at BBVA Compass Stadium with a 4-0 season opening win over visiting Atlanta United. The four goal outburst in the 2018 opener improved Houston’s home mark to 6-0-1 since defeating DC United in the first ever match on April 12, 2012.
“We’re here to work. We’re here to talk on the field,” said Cabrera. “That is where we need to talk, and today was a good day. It’s only one game out of 34 and we have 33 in front of us. This is a long season. It’s going to be difficult. It is going to be complicated. All of the teams are getting stronger and better, so that is why we wanted to get stronger and better in the little details to be sure that we compete at the same level.”
Entering Saturday afternoon’s match, the question loomed as to how this year’s team would respond to playing with a target on their back. After all, this 2018 roster with its nucleus returning would not be sneaking up on anyone after scoring 57 goals last season. Head coach Wilmer Cabrera could not have asked for a better start for his team that netted a record setting 43 home goals a season ago. Thirty of the teams 57 goals last season came in the first 45 minutes of play and Houston’s proclivity for scoring early and often continued in 2018.
Andrew Wenger put away the game’s first marker in the fifth minute of play after forward Alberth Elis overpowered González Pírez out wide drawing Atlanta keeper Brad Guzan away from the goal line setting up Wenger for the easy tap in.
Less than twenty minutes later, defender Philippe Senderos would soar over the Atlanta defense to head home another marker. Not since Texas native and former Dynamo star Bobby Boswell departed has the Houston side had a defender who could get up in the box like Senderos. Coincidentally or not, the Swede’s first goal in nearly four years (March 13, 2014) came against his former Aston Villa teammate and United keeper Brad Guzan, also a header.
“It was a corner. We rehearsed corners – we know that we are dangerous and it was another opportunity to put pressure on them and we did that,” explained Senderos on his first MLS goal. “The delivery was good and I was able to get away from the defender and I put my head in there. It was a very important moment to put the second one straight after the first one when we are leading in the first half. We are very happy to have started well at home, the support was brilliant, and we are really excited for the next step.”
Four minutes later, Mauro Manotas gave the Dynamo a three goal advantage with his first tally of 2018.
In first half stoppage time, Darwin Ceren in his Dynamo debut made it 4-0 just seconds before the halftime whistle.
Dynamo keeper Chris Seitz posted his first clean sheet in Houston debut including a penalty kick stop in the 49th minute against Miguel Almiron.
“I had a feeling of him going there,” said Seitz about the stop. “We do a lot of work on that stuff. I tried to get there early and make him push it wide. At that point, when you get there and he sees you going in that direction, you put doubt in his mind. I did everything I could; luckily we kept it out.”