NEED TO KNOW:
Dynamo have earned points in seven of last eight games
FW Mateo Bajamich made his first MLS start, FW Corey Baird made his Dynamo debut
GK Marko Marić kept a clean sheet for second time in three games
HOUSTON – Houston Dynamo FC and Real Salt Lake played to a scoreless draw at BBVA Stadium this evening. Although the contest finished goalless, it featured plenty of action, as the teams combined for 26 shots, with both goalkeepers stepping up to make spectacular saves throughout the night.
The draw gave Houston at least a point in seven of their last eight matches and in 12 of 16 outings on the season. It also kept the Dynamo undefeated at BBVA Stadium on the year at 3-0-4.
Real Salt Lake created the first dangerous chance of the evening in the 11th minute. After a Dynamo clearance fell to midfielder Maikel Chang, his right-footed shot bounced toward goal but was palmed to the side by Houston goalkeeper Marko Marić. The ball caromed off the right post and back out to the penalty spot, where RSL midfielder Damir Kreilach attempted a diving header. Maric easily collected the second shot to snuff out the threat.
It was Houston’s turn to hit the woodwork in the 33rd minute when midfielder Memo Rodriguez caught the right post with a curling effort after a full-field counterattacking move. Forward Mateo Bajamich, making his first start in MLS, raced down the right flank before playing the ball inside to Rodriguez at the top of the penalty area. The Houston Homegrown’s shot beat ‘keeper Zac MacMath but was a few inches too far right and caught the post.
Marić came up big again in first-half stoppage time, making a diving save to parry away a shot from midfielder Justin Meram and keep the game scoreless going into intermission. The Croatian goalkeeper finished the night with four saves en route to his second clean sheet in three matches and his third of the season.
Salt Lake caught the post again in the 50th minute as Rusnák ran onto a ball behind the Dynamo back line and fired a quick shot from eight yards that caught the outside of the near post and ricocheted out for a goal kick.
Rodriguez made Club history with his 100th appearance in all competitions, becoming the first Dynamo Academy alumnus to reach the century mark for the Club. Additionally, Bajamich earned his first start in MLS play, while newcomer Corey Baird, acquired via trade from Los Angeles FC on Friday, made his Dynamo debut when he came on for midfielder Joe Corona in the 62nd minute.
Baird nearly combined with forward Tyler Pasher in the 67th minute after he raced onto a ball behind the RSL defense and played a centering pass to Pasher, but MacMath was quick off his line and was just able to beat Pasher to the ball.
Pasher and Baird combined for another dangerous chance in the 71st, this time reversing roles. It was Pasher who ran onto the ball along the left flank before curling a centering ball into the path of Baird at the six-yard box. Baird was able to get to the ball, but his first-touch effort whistled over the crossbar.
Real Salt Lake nearly found their opener in the 78th minute when defender Aaron Herrera whipped a ball in from the right flank that pulled Marić off his line. The ball carried across the face of goal to forward Anderson Julio, who had an open look at goal but put his shot wide of the target.
The visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 87th minute when centerback Justen Glad received a second yellow card for a foul off the ball. The man advantage nearly paid off for Houston in stoppage time as Baird laced shot following a corner kick that forced a leaping save from MacMath to push the would-be winner over the crossbar.
The Dynamo begin a two-game road trip on Wednesday in the state capitol against Austin FC at Q2 Stadium. This will be the first regular season meeting between both teams and the first of three games this season. The Dynamo travel to Allianz Field on Saturday to face Minnesota United to close the road trip.
Houston Dynamo FC (3-4-9; 18 pts.) 0-0 Real Salt Lake (5-4-6; 21 pts.)
MLS Regular Season – Week 16
BBVA Stadium – Houston, Texas
Houston Dynamo FC: Marko Marić; Zarek Valentin, Tim Parker, Teenage Hadebe, Sam Junqua; Darwin Cerén, Matías Vera, Joe Corona (Corey Baird 62); Griffin Dorsey (Derrick Jones 84), Mateo Bajamich (Tyler Pasher 62), Memo Rodriguez
Unused substitutes: Michael Nelson, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Ian Hoffmann, Boniek Garcia, Maynor Figueroa, Adam Lundkvist
Total shots: 15 (Memo Rodriguez 5); Shots on goal: 8 (Corey Baird 2); Fouls: 10 (Matías Vera 3); Offside: 2; Corner kicks: 9; Saves: 4 (Marko Marić 4)
Real Salt Lake: Zac MacMath; Ashtone Morgan, Marcelo Silva, Justen Glad, Aaron Herrera; Justin Meram (Anderson Julio 75), Damir Kreliach (Erik Holt 90+1), Nick Besler, Maikel Chang (Jonathan Menéndez 64); Albert Rusnák (C) (Everton Luiz 90+1); Bobby Wood (Rubio Rubín 74)
Unused substitutes: Justin Portillo, Andrew Putna, Pablo Ruiz, Donny Toia
Total shots: 11 (Albert Rusnák 4); Shots on goal: 4 (Maikel Chang, Damir Kreilach, Justin Meram, Albert Rusnák 1); Fouls: 12 (Justen Glad 4); Offside: 1; Corner kicks: 4; Saves: 4 (Zac MacMath 4)
RSL: Justen Glad (caution; foul) 40
RSL: Justen Glad (second caution, ejection; foul) 87
RSL: Erik Holt (caution; dissent) 90+2
Referee: Guido Gonzales Jr.
Assistant Referee: Nick Uranga
Assistant Referee: Jeff Hosking
Fourth Official: Kevin Broadley
VAR: Sorin Stoica
Weather: 93 degrees, cloudy
Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos
(on tonight’s game) “It was a well-fought game I think by both teams. Obviously, we feel like we had the better of it and the better chances. I thought in general the team, in particular in the second half, we had some really good moments. Unfortunately, we couldn’t shake off getting another tie.”
(on the play of FW Corey Baird who was traded to the team on Friday) “I thought he had a great game, not easy. He landed last night at about midnight. So, he barely had a chance to adapt to breathing Houston air for a few hours. Here he is, thrown into a game that’s 0-0 during the second half against his old team, I’m sure there’s a lot of feelings there too. Not an easy situation, but I think he’s a pro. I insist Corey (Baird) is one of the unique American players and we feel lucky we had a chance to get him.”
(on his impressions of the attack during the beginning of the match and when he subs came on) “I think it was obvious that it changed a little bit. We were a lot more dynamic with Corey (Baird) and Tyler (Pasher) in. But as you know, Tyler has been with his national team until yesterday. He hasn’t even trained one day with us. He arrived yesterday to the team environment, but today was the first day that we saw Tyler actually. So, we haven’t seen him in a couple of weeks. Obviously, Corey’s the same. Two days ago, he was with LAFC and now he’s with us. I think they showed flashes of having a good understanding and being able to do well together. I think that’s a good thing. It wasn’t easy dealing with all of the attacking players we were missing today.”
(on how expectations changed knowing how limited attackers were) “It’s difficult because I can never go to the team and say okay we’re home, let’s just play for the tie because we don’t have whoever’s not here. I think you need to take advantage of the opportunity. There is 20-some guys on the roster and I think most of them are upset when they don’t play, so here you go. To be fair, I thought that the guys who had the opportunity did really well.”
(on what the draws are attributed to) “Obviously ties happen by chance, we’re not trying to tie games. You saw we’re pushing all the way to the end, even when we play on the road. We do a pretty good job of trying to go out and win the game and I think that’s why we get the ties. In general – personally, I’ve never had so many ties. As a player, as a coach, it’s kind of strange tying every week because you’re losing points but we’re trying. Obviously, today is a little bit different scenario because we’re down quite a few guys. I think for a club like ours and what we are that’s really difficult.”
(on how MF Memo Rodriguez can grow and improve) “I thought today was a little bit better than the way that he’s been playing the last few days, so I was encouraged by that. I think he took advantage of the opportunity, that’s why he was in the game the whole time because he deserved it. We’ve got to keep working with him, he has to become more aggressive going at goal but it’s not easy playing 100 games in this league and he’s already done it. I think that’s a great thing.”
(on Mateo Bajamich’s first MLS start) “I thought he did a pretty good job. He held onto the ball well. He stuck to the game plan and what we asked from him which is not allow their opposing team number six to receive the ball and he did that really well. I thought he made some good diagonal runs into space. He got onto the far post a few times where if we would have gotten a few balls he might have been able to help us and put a goal in. He’s done a lot of things well. Obviously, he’s been with us for the last eight or nine months so you would figure by now he knows how we’re playing and I think he showed that. He stepped right in and did a pretty good job.”
(on how well the defense played) “I’m happy about that because I think the addition of Teenage (Hadebe) into the backline has been huge. Obviously, the play of Sam Junqua at the same time has helped us a lot. I think we have two very athletic players there who are good in the air, who can play with the ball at their feet, who can go forward when they need to. I think both those guys have helped a lot but there’s no question there, Teenage’s addition to the team has changed our team. It’s difficult to build a team if you’re allowing goals and I think we’re at a good moment now when we’re not allowing goals and that’s a good place to be. That’s a good start.”
Director técnico del Houston Dynamo Tab Ramos
(sobre si es frustrante no conseguir victorias) “A mí no me frustran los empates. A mí me frustraría si el equipo no hiciera el esfuerzo. Lamentablemente no llega el gol. Para los aficionados es frustrante un empate tras otro. No recuerdo haber vivido tantos empates en una temporada como entrenador o como jugador, pero como entrenador veo el esfuerzo. Sé que estamos haciendo todo lo posible. Hemos fallado goles a dos metros de la portería”.
(sobre los ajustes que se pueden hacer para definir, para anotar goles) “Seguir entrenando, seguir trabajando. Tenemos que proseguir con las repeticiones durante la semana. Era el primer partido de Corey (Baird), Tyler (Pasher) apenas llegó hoy, no pudo practicar con nosotros, estaba con la selección de Canadá. (Darwin) Cerén también apenas se incorporó. Estoy contento con el esfuerzo del equipo ahora que estamos recuperando las piezas”.
(sobre cómo se mantiene el ánimo ante tantos empates) “Es difícil. Pero los jugadores y los demás equipos saben que no somos un rival fácil. Sólo hemos perdido 4 de 16 juegos. Si miran la tabla de posiciones sólo uno o dos equipos tienen menos derrotas que nosotros. No estoy revisando mis estadísticas para ver cuántos juegos he empatado solo que no recuerdo haber estado en una seguidilla como ésta. Me gusta mirar lo positivo. Todo lo que estamos haciendo bien y esperar lograr convertir los empates en triunfos”.
Dynamo FW Corey Baird
(on the last 24 hours) “I probably found out like at 4 p.m. (on Thursday). I’m on a plane Friday, got in at 1 a.m. today. So, definitely had a whirlwind of things going on — a lot going on but hoping to get settled soon. Happy to meet the guys and get my first minutes as a Dynamo player.”
(on the preparation that he can do on such a short turnaround for a game) “I think it’s just the preparation I’ve been doing throughout the season—doing a lot of little things every day. Every day in training. Every day we come in push training, whatever kind of recovery you need so I think for me it’s just always being as game ready as possible. So, I knew going in that I could get minutes over 24 hours ago. So, I knew what my preparation would be and was just doing the little things to make sure I’m ready to go and could give Tab (Ramos) as much as possible.”
(on the attack with (FW) Tyler Pasher and how close he thought they were to scoring) “I thought we were incredibly close on a few occasions. Fresh legs are always going to be good. I know he’s another fast, attacking player so when teams are playing in this humidity, this heat it’s always going to be tough for them in the second half. So, us coming off the bench, looking to run at guys, be fast, be direct I think it causes problems for teams.”
(on if (HC) Tab Ramos said anything to him on the way out as far as words of advice) “Just not to overthink it. Just go out there and do what you have been doing, play how I play, and he gave me just the confidence to go out there and express myself and play in a way I think is effective and I think we did well when I came on and pretty unfortunate not to get a goal.”
(on if he feels like overall once he got out there that a goal was going to come pairing up with Pash (FW Tyler Pasher)) “Yeah, I saw a lot of space and I think he was able to put the ball in a great spot for me and that kind of ball that he played in is a dream for a forward. So, I know I need to do better with that but if we can develop a connection where we get chances like that on a regular basis I think we will score a lot of goals.”
(on if playing for Real Salt Lake previously helped him at all tonight) “Yeah, I mean I guess you could say it goes both ways where I know some of their guys tendencies and they know some of my tendencies so definitely a team that I spent a lot of time with and was with not too long ago so great to see some of those guys but I definitely was hoping to get a win tonight.”
(on how quick of the turnaround it was this week and what he thinks this team can accomplish) So, I found out that anything was even happening when it was already done probably late Thursday afternoon. Later that night I got a flight scheduled to come out on Friday. Came out here, got in around midnight, 1 a.m. got to the apartment and spent the rest of the day preparing for the game. But during my conversations with Tab, I’m excited for the group we have here, what he wants to build here, and the role that he has talked to me about.”
(on his relationship with HC Tab Ramos throughout the years) “I got to meet Tab (Ramos) back when I was in high school, did some U-20 (U.S. Men’s National Team) stuff and I always enjoyed him as a coach. My friends enjoyed him, so I’m excited to get the chance to work with him again and the relationship is probably part of what got me to Houston.”
Dynamo MF Memo Rodriguez
(on earning 100 appearances for the club across all appearances) “I mean great. It’s something you always dream of as a kid, to play for your hometown club and 100 appearances is a big milestone for me. Obviously, today we wanted to leave with a victory, but we keep improving and will be ready for Wednesday against Austin.”
(on his free kick in second half) “Good, I mean I think the wall was a little bit over. So, we were deciding on where the goalkeeper was at and where the wall was at, and who was going to take it and I saw that the wall was a little to the right of the keeper. That was something that I could probably crawl around the wall and get a shot on target. Maybe I should have hit it a little harder but it’s always good to get your shots on target. Obviously, it’s something that you always work on to try to score.”
(on the offense stepping up after FW Tyler Pasher and FW Corey Baird came in the game) “I think it’s what subs are supposed to do, is give us that extra spark. I think through the course of the game everybody gets tired. It’s humid outside and for them to come with that energy it’s hard to stop them when you know they’re going at pace with you. So, I think they contributed well for the team, especially give us that extra spark that we needed. Unfortunately, the ball didn’t want to go in the net today, but I think we created a lot of opportunities that we got to continue doing and eventually the balls are going to go in the net as long as we create those opportunities.”
(on the amount of ties) “Obviously, it’s a little frustrating. I think getting a point on the road is good but ultimately we have to win our home games. That’s important, if we win our home games and get ties on the road we’re going to be in a great spot for playoffs, but if we keep earning ties at home and away then we put ourselves in a tough spot. Today we created a lot of opportunities and if we continue that it’s going to be ultimately us scoring goals and getting wins. Now we just have to just keep the zero in the back if we score a goal because a lot of times we score. I feel like we drop off a little bit and we wait for them to attack us. We keep working hard and move forward and be ready for Austin.”
(on if he is arriving to the milestone in best moment) “I think, like you said, it’s a great milestone and obviously there’s always room to improve, but I think I’ve been playing some good soccer. Unfortunately, the ball just doesn’t go in the net. You know I’m creating opportunities for the team. They’re helping me as well to create those opportunities and every game is different. Every game you can get better and learn something different from your opponent. I think I did a great job today with the help of the team. Obviously, today the ball didn’t go in the net. So, we got the tie and we’re a little frustrated just keep tying games. We want the three points as much as we can.”
Mediocampista del Houston Dynamo FC Memo Rodriguez
(sobre su tiro libre) “Somos un equipo ofensivo. Nos gusta salir en la contra. Hice una buena corrida. Mateo (Bajamich) me entregó de buena forma el balón. Se sintió bien el contacto con el pie, iba fuerte, pero no cayó el gol. Hay que seguir trabajando. Las oportunidades de anotar están ahí, las estamos creando. Lamentablemente no caen los goles”.