The Houston Dynamo had a successful preseason, going 8-1-3 against all competition. A squad with 10 new players at times looked like a team that was capable of winning a third MLS Cup. The Dynamo's preseason form, however didn't translate into their regular season opener as they fell 1-0 to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday night.
The Dynamo, instead reverted back to their 2010 version: a team that gave up the early goal and a team that had to play catch-up for 80 minutes of the game. As was the case last season, the Dynamo maintained their share of possession. They created their chances, but in the end, couldn't capitalize on them. Never was that more evident than Dynamo forward Dominic Oduro's miss in the 69th minute from point blank range, a shot that was harder to miss than it was to make.
"We had one really good chance," head coach Dominic Kinnear said. "When you don't score chances like that, you're not going to win the game if you're losing 1-0."
Union defender Danny Califf scored the game's only goal in the 5th minute. A throw-in fell dangerously in place ande Sebastien Le Toux was able to fire a shot that bounced off the crossbar right into an opportunistic Califf, who scored on the rebound. Kinnear thought his defense was "too casual" on the throw-in, and they got punished for it. After the goal, the Union played hard defense for 85 plus minutes of soccer, not allowing the Dynamo to get into rhythm offensively.
"You give up an early goal, it hurts. It's not an easy game to score as you can see," Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell told Hair Balls. "They got out and got after it. We slipped up, and got punished at the end."
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"It just wasn't going in tonight," Boswell added. "We didn't help ourselves by not putting the ball on frame."
Despite their showing, which was reminiscent of version 2010, the Dynamo didn't seem to want to throw in the towel just yet - especially after game one of 34.
"Last year's last year," Kinnear said, "It's a new team, a lot of new players."
The Dynamo next play this Friday, when they face the Seattle Sounders FC.