Man of the Match: The first goal at BBVA Compass Stadium? Yeah, Brad Davis. Who else? He was good in possession all afternoon and, when he found a little space in the 67th minute, he sent everyone home happy from the Dynamo’s big day. And what did Davis think about the moment? “Pure joy obviously. Those moment are tough to put into words. … Obviously, a day I wont’ forget.”
Packaged for take-away:
- This was always a 1-0 (or even a 0-0) match waiting to happen. With all the extracurriculars around the event, players on both sides looked something on the nervous side early, with crosses overcooked and balls zipped into feet with just a little too much umph. Even after the players settled some, caution generally ruled the approach.
- Houston right back Andrew Hainault had an eventful day with some good and some bad. He struggled a little against Andy Najar’s speed, and he could easily have been whistled for a penalty kick when he reached out and tugged down Chris Pontius as they both raced for a diagonal ball inside the penalty area.
- On the other hand, the Dynamo right back was generally sure and confident in his tackles. Very physical, too. In a lot of ways, Hainault’s game is all about how the referee is calling things. If it’s called tight, a lot of his little grabs and holds off the ball could turn into cards. If it’s called loose, he’s a champ out there.
- With the 70-yard wide field, things remained pretty congested out there. Very “Robertson Stadium” that way.
- Let’s hope Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear gives the go-ahead to widen that field. On the other hand, his team doesn’t have a lot of speed, especially at forward. And team speed falls even further when Corey Ashe is out of the lineup, as he was Saturday. So … maybe not.
- Steady United holding midfielder Perry Kitchen left just before the half-hour mark, injured, which hurt the visitors.
- Houston’s Ja-Vaughn Watson had a glistening chance right at the whistle of the first half. It was really the game’s only great chance before the break
- Watson did very little on offense in his 70 minutes but did contribute some valuable tracking and helped keep tabs on Dwayne De Rosario.
- Either Bill Hamid is carrying an injury, or those goal kicks from D.C. United’s No. 1 need a bunch of work.
- Calen Carr left after 71 effective minutes. In a game without much offensive flourish or much wide play, Carr gave some of both to the Dynamo. Plus, he dropped in reliably to assist Hainault with Najar.
- Brian Ching missed chances to close out the match three times within the space of about three minutes. That was somewhere north of the 75-minute mark. You have to think he puts at least one away if it’s earlier in the afternoon. At this point of his career, on those kinds of close-in chances, he just can’t get his feet in the right places quickly enough.
- How did D.C. United manager Ben Olsen think his team handled the moment, with all the hoopla? “Better than we handled the heat,” he said. “It was the first time we hit a little bit of heat, and we didn’t do a very good job with it.”
Don’t stab at the ball!
It’s a cry that echoes from youth matches to the upper reaches of the game, but Riyad Mahrez has a tendency to force defenders into forgetting fundamentals.
[ MORE: Sunderland hires Moyes ]
The Leicester man, linked to Arsenal, danced through the Celtic defense in Saturday’s International Champions Cup action to whip a shot home and give the Foxes a 1-0 lead in Glasgow (The Bhoys have since tied it up).
We’ve seen this so many times from the Algerian, who hopefully sticks around Leicester for the club’s UEFA Champions League run and Premier League title defense.
DeAndre Yedlin left the United States for England in January 2015, the latest step in a career trajectory simply described as “Up”.
Yedlin, now 23, acclimated to life in the Premier League before making a late season appearance with Tottenham to close the 2014-15 season.
[ MORE: Sunderland hires Moyes ]
The next year saw him force into Sam Allardyce‘s Sunderland lineup, transforming his defensive acumen in a way that few USMTN fans could deny during this summer’s Copa America Centenario (That pesky red card aside).
But not only is Tottenham in the UEFA Champions League, but Yedlin’s manager at Sunderland is gone. What does this mean for Yedlin? Let’s consider three primary options:
Sunderland still buys him — New manager David Moyes loves him a mobile fullback with offensive capabilities. Not that Yedlin is Leighton Baines, but a starting right back slot in the Premier League could still be in the cards.
Tottenham keeps him around — Mauricio Pochettino likes to rotate his defenders and will have a heavy schedule on his plate. Kieran Trippier was unable to unseat Kyle Walker last season, so the No. 2 chair could be open for Yedlin (although Trippier showed he’s on the level while at Burnley, leading the league in crosses during 2014-15).
Tottenham loans him out — Speedy right backs will be in demand at several spots, and Sunderland is just one destination where fans are clamoring for reinforcements. Lack of purchases is one big reason Steve Bruce just left Hull City, and clubs like that will be aiming for relatively proven players on loan.
Fabian Delph means no offense to Martin O’Neill, Paul Lambert, and Manuel Pellegrini, but he’s never seen anything like the management of Man City boss Pep Guardiola.
“The first three weeks have been amazing. I’ve learned more than I have throughout my whole career,” he said to the BBC. “It is a big statement but it is the truth.”
[ MORE: Wenger open to big spending ]
He’s not alone in his praise for Guardiola, as defender Gael Clichy is thrilled at what’s transpiring in front of him at training.
“That’s something new as before we were quite open and if you look at our games from last year we were conceding a lot of goals on the counter-attack because we were an offensive team and open. I guess he’s trying to make us as offensive as previous years but just as solid at the back.”
Later in the article, Clichy talked about his friendship with Delph (which really ties our post together). City’s site even used the term “bromance”. So they’ve got that going for them, which is nice.
While Manchester United and Liverpool have been the clubs grabbing headlines with transfers this summer, Arsene Wenger would like to remind you that:
A) There’s plenty of time left in the window.
B) Arsenal has a lot of money.
C) They did sign Granit Xhaka for big dollars.
[ RUMOR ROUNDUP: Mahrez to Arsenal ]
The Premier League’s longest-tenured manager opened up about the Gunners’ plans to keep looking for the right targets, and said the club is still “very active” and working with a month-and-a-half to go in the window.
“We are very active and if we find the right candidates, we will spend the big money. We have already spent big and, until now, nobody has made a bigger transfer than we have in the country.
He was also asked about Mauro Icardi, Arda Turan, and Alexandre Lacazette:
“I wouldn’t like to come out on names because if you don’t get them afterwards, people ask why. We are active, very active every day and it’s not over. Today we are on July 22 and the transfer market finishes on August 31. You know that a lot happens in the last week, so it’s a long time to go, but we are active and we are working.”
Arsenal could use a star striker, or at least depth behind Olivier Giroud, and have added young English back Rob Holding to go with scooping up Xhaka.
Do you think Wenger will dig into the bank again this summer for a big signing? If so, who?