It was one game, but it was also a statement of intent for the Houston Dynamo.
The Dynamo, coming off an offseason rebuild, started five newcomers in their 2017 MLS regular season opener, and defeated the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders 2-1 at BBVA Stadium on Saturday.
Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera said after the game the style the Dynamo played in the victory would be representative of the team's style for the season.
“We’re not a team that’s going to be possession-oriented because we don’t have those type of players,” Cabrera said. “We have attackers. We have guys who are dynamic. And we have midfielders who work hard. So this is going to be the Houston Dynamo.”
Cabrera noted that he knew Seattle were going to have more possession of the ball, and they did, 64.1 percent to Houston's 35.9 percent. But it was something the squad was fully prepared for as they hit the field.
“It’s not about having more possession,” Cabrera said. “Right now it’s about, when we attack, we need to be more effective.”
Eight new players were brought in this season by the Dynamo, in addition to Cabrera being hired, and two of the new acquisitions were involved in the game early and often. Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis — both mainstays with the Honduran National team — flanked Erick "Cubo" Torres in a 4-3-3 lineup.
The Hondurans wreaked havoc on the Sounders backline, keeping them busy throughout the evening, and Quioto notched his first MLS goal, an individual effort capped off with a curling shot to the back post, in some style.
"I had faith in myself. I had confidence. I knew once I had the ball at my feet that I could place the ball [in the back of the net]," Quioto explained after the game.
The victory was monumental for many reasons for the Dynamo, but perhaps most heartening was seeing Torres blast a free kick past a wall of defenders and into the back of the net. The goal is Torres’ first ever in a Dynamo uniform and first in MLS since 2014.
“It was good for him,” Cabrera said of seeing the Designated Player score after two disappointing seasons with the Orange. “Everyone felt it, the relief that Erick scored a goal.”
Torres himself felt it.
“I’m happy to get the three points and happy to finally score my first goal,” Torres said. “I was aching to score a goal and to finally celebrate my first goal.”
Cabrera, who last coached Torres in 2014 at Chivas USA, when the Mexican was an MLS All-Star and scored 15 goals in the team's final season, added that Torres finally getting off the mark is good for the city, the fans and especially the club.
“It’s going to bring confidence for him and for everyone around him,” Cabrera said.