3160ym19114963376624042494">The Houston Dynamo returned to the friendly confines of BBVA Compass Stadium for the first time in over two weeks on Wednesday night. The result was a 5-1 rout of Real Salt Lake to keep them undefeated at home (7-0-1) as they head to Seattle for their next match this Sunday.
3160ym19114963376624042497">Here are three things we learned from Wednesday’s result:
160ym19114963376624042500">1. You better bring your best to BBVA Compass Stadium
3160ym19114963376624042503">Through this point in the season, no other team has more wins, goals scored or a better goal differential in home games than the Houston Dynamo. The team has also put together three shutouts and won five of their seven games by at least two goals.
160ym19114963376624042506">A look at Wednesday’s result may be shocking to some but, if we’re being fair, the team showed up to take care of business and delivered. They made the best of the short week homefield advantage, which hasn’t been kind to road teams, and bagged a necessary three points ahead of two consecutive road matches.
3160ym19114963376624042509">This win was just what the doctor ordered to jump start an offense that had not scored in open play since their last home encounter. Now, they have to show that same attacking creativity and finishing on the road as defending MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders FC await them on Sunday.
160ym19114963376624042512">2. Don’t sleep on Mauro Manotas
3160ym19114963376624042515">The 21-year-old forward from Sabanalarga, Colombia was the club’s top scorer across all competitions and co-top scorer in MLS for the Dynamo in 2016, despite only starting 10 MLS games. A new season and new head coach had him begin off the bench once again, but now Manotas is done playing catch-up.
160ym19114963376624042518">In his 13 appearances, Manotas has made his way into the starting lineup on nine occasions and equalled teammate Romell Quioto’s four goals and two assists. His contributions have been impactful enough to earn him a nomination to the MLS All-Star Game, making the Dynamo the only team with four forwards on the ballot.
3160ym19114963376624042521">It’s all a product of the competitive locker room the club has made a priority to instill and, with five months left to go in the season, there will be plenty of minutes to go around. Just be warned, in case you thought any different, this team is more than the Elis-Torres-Quioto trident.
160ym19114963376624042524">3. Alex and the Dynamo must capitalize on the peak of his career
3160ym19114963376624042527">Alex is another player that stood out last year and has only improved in 2017. On Wednesday night, the Brazilian scored his first goal of the season in his 100th MLS start to further display a class beyond any he’s shown in his six-year MLS stint.
160ym19114963376624042530">Coupled with his career-high seven assists this season, Alex’s goal off a short corner was just another indicator of how he is a catalyst when the Dynamo are firing on all cylinders. The way he and the team continue to produce is evidence that the Dynamo have pieces in place to be in a “win-now” mode.
3160ym19114963376624042533">For the moment, the Dynamo sit in first place atop the Western Conference. Where they finish may depend on how well Alex and the midfield maintain their form for the rest of the season.