Houston Dynamo FC opened the 2023 season with a 2-1 loss to FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium this evening.
Cincinnati forward Sergio Santos had the first shot of the game in the 16th minute off a cross from Álvaro Barreal. The duo would find each other again three minutes later and Santos beat the Dynamo goalkeeper at the near post for the first goal of the game.
Defender Tate Schmitt scored the equalizer in first half stoppage time off a corner kick from captain Héctor Herrera. Schmitt joined the Dynamo on trial this preseason and signed a contract with the team on Feb. 17.
Cincinnati regained the lead in the 48th minute after Obinna Nwobodo capitalized on a second ball inside the box, his effort was deflected by a Dynamo defender but ultimately crossed the goal line. Dynamo defender Franco Escobar denied a right-footed effort from Barreal three minutes after the opening goal at the edge of the box. Escobar is one of four players to earn their first start with the Dynamo this evening. The outside back won possession eight times this evening and won four duels.
Midfielder Coco Carrasquilla forced a save in the 25th minute after dribbling toward the top of the box, but his effort was handled by goalkeeper Roman Celentano. Carrasquilla enters his second full season with the Dynamo and entered the game with 42 appearances for the club, the most of any starter on the field. Carrasquilla won a corner kick in the 29th minute and the ball was initially recycled by defender Ethan Bartlow but eventually cleared by the Cincinnati backline.
Dynamo forward Ivan Franco forced a save in the 31st minute with an effort from the edge of the six-yard box. The Paraguayan playmaker controlled a rebound after his initial effort bounced off a Cincinnati defender that was eventually not ruled a handball by the video assistant referee. Houston generated two opportunities in the final 15 minutes of the first half, first a second ball that fell to Herrera. Three minutes later Sebas Ferreira had his first shot of the game.
Carrasquilla generated one of Houston’s most dangerous opportunities in the second half when he found Franco in space outside the box. The Cincinnati backline cleared the ball, which fell to Carrasquilla at the top of the box, but his effort just missed the inside of the far post.
The Cincinnati backline was tested again in the ensuing sequence as Houston generated pressure in the final third. Franco forced a save in the 66th minute after tidy dribbling inside the box to create space for a shot.
Herrera won a free kick outside the box in the 74th minute and the ensuing shot just missed the inside corner of the near post. Thor Úlfarsson entered the game two minutes later and won a free kick after his half volley was deflected by a Cincinnati defender.
The Dynamo close the two-game road trip to open the 2023 season next Saturday at Gillette Stadium against the New England Revolution. That match will be available for free on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. The game will also air in English on ESPN 97.5 and in Spanish on TUDN Radio Houston 93.3 FM.
Houston will unveil the newly renovated Shell Energy Stadium in March when they host their home opener on March 18. For tickets and additional information, visit HoustonDynamoFC.com.