The Houston Dynamo defeated the Atlanta United FC 4-0 to begin its 2018 MLS season. The Dynamo are looking to improve on last year’s 4th place finish in the Western Conference (13-10-11). Atlanta also finished 4th, in the Eastern Conference (15-9-10) in their inaugural year. Both teams made the playoffs in 2017.
Darwin Ceren, Mauro Manotas, Philippe Senderos, and Andrew Wenger all scored in the first half. It wasn’t all good news for the Dynamo, as 2017 team MVP Juan David Cabezas went down early in the first half with a left quad injury. Ceren made his debut in the 15th minute and more than held his own.
Atlanta also had an injury as Leandro González Pirez was carted off the field.
It didn’t take long for the Dynamo as Wenger scored within the first five minutes off a pass from Alberth Elis in the six-yard box. In the 23rd minute, Senderos scored on a header from teammate Boniek Garcia’s corner kick.
Just four minutes later, Houston picked up its third goal when Manotas scored after Elis kicked the ball into the box. The win was Houston’s seventh on opening day improving their opening day record to 7-2-4.
The all-time series between Houston and Atlanta is tied at 1-1. Houston head coach Wilmer Cabrea picked up his 23rd win in MLS, 14 with the Dynamo.
The four goals tied the club record for most goals in a single period. This is the third time for the Dynamo. The last time was against FC Dallas in 2016. Scoring at home hasn’t been an issue for Houston having scored 14 times in the last 18 games.
Ceren finished off the scoring when Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan couldn’t contain a lofted free kick. Despite coming up on the losing end, Atlanta had possession 59% to 41%. Houston had 13 shots (10 on goal) while Atlanta had 13 (2). Houston had eight corner kicks and six saves on the game. Atlanta had four corner kicks and just two saves. Another bright spot for Atlanta is they were 83% on passing accuracy.
Despite allowing four goals, Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan made six saves. His counterpart, Chris Seitz made two saves.
Houston Dynamo Lineup: Chris Seitz; Kevin Garcia, Adolfo Machado, Philippe Senderos, DaMarcus Beasley ©; Eric Alexander, Juan David Cabezas (Darwin Cerén 15); Andrew Wenger (Arturo Alvarez 68), Boniek García (Romell Quioto 75), Alberth Elis; Mauro Manotas
Unused subs: Memo Rodriguez, Dylan Remick, Joe Willis, Leonardo
Atlanta United FC Lineup: Brad Guzan; Franco Escobar, Jeff Larentowicz ©, Leandro González Pirez (Michael Parkhurst 39), Greg Garza; Darlington Nagbe (Kevin Kartz 61), Chris McCann; Héctor Villalba (Brandon Vásquez 73), Julian Gressel, Miguel Almirón; Josef Martínez
Unused subs: Romario Williams, Sal Zizzo, Andrew Carleton, Alec Kann.
Next up for Atlanta United FC is DC United in Atlanta’s first home game of the season March 11th.
For the Houston Dynamo, they face Vancouver at home on March 10th.
(Photo Credit: Sophia Merdian / The SkyBoat)