It's never good when you have to change your takeaways last minute.
But that's exactly what happened in a bizarre match in Houston. Between weather delays, missed opportunities, and a twist of an ending, LAFC somehow managed to leave Houston with just one point.
Here's my takeaways from the 2-2 draw at the Dynamo:
Can't Stand The Weather
The weather was the star of the show early.
After warmups, lighting strikes near the stadium in Houston halted the start of this match for nearly the amount of time it took to eventually play it. For LAFC, playing its second match in three days, that could have been a killer. To be likely a bit sore from the weekend's match, and go from amped to play, back to waiting out a storm for over an hour and half, is so difficult. Just another bit of adversity professionals face that gets overlooked at times.
Impressive Quick Start
Please refer back to the first takeaway for this one.
It's not just scoring in the 5th minute that's impressive. It's the fact LAFC scored in the fifth minute, after an hour and a half delay, on the road, and just three days after the last match.
And it wasn't just the goal. Early on, LAFC were carving up Houston. The midfield was freely flowing through the middle of the pitch, and Houston looked to be the away side for the first 20 minutes of the match.
Dio Turns Provider
The understanding between Adama Diomande and Latif Blessing on the first goal was like the two were separated at birth.
Dio gets on the ball, and the moment he lifts his head, both he and Blessing realize the defenders are ball watching. This sets the whole play in motion. Dio comes out of the middle and has space to turn. Defenders commit to get close, Blessing runs in behind, and the ball is there before the defenders realize its off Dio's foot. The recognition from both Dio and Blessing is like clockwork there. And both the pass and the finish are spot on.
When you set a record for scoring seven times in your first five matches, people take notice. What I'm noticing though, its that Dio has more to offer than just goals. You simply can't find many strikers with that type of recognition, especially when they are finding the net frequently themselves.
Sometimes The Dominos Don't Fall In Your Favor
I can almost guarantee I'll get a lot of people telling me the defense was terrible tonight. And that's just wrong.
For 94 minutes, Houston was toothless. LAFC defended pretty well in transition, while Jordan Harvey made Alberth Elis look pedestrian. And then, one by one, the dominos started to fall.
Possession is lost in the middle of the pitch and Houston goes long to Mauro Manotas. Laurent Ciman is isolated behind the play and can't step fast enough. Houston scores.
In the ensuing minutes, LAFC again can't hold possession, like they were most of the match, and Houston win a corner. The ball takes squirts out to Philippe Senderos. He gets a favorable deflection from his shot. And Houston steals a point.
So it's not as simple as the defense was bad. There's a series of events that happen, that can probably be prevented if the team is sharper to kill off the game. Or there wasn't the quick turnaround between games. Or the weather and the delay don't happen. All these things contribute to what feels like a loss now. But it's a point on the road, and LAFC remain unbeaten in their last four matches.
But Let Me Be Petty For A Second...
What can I say, I'm only human.
I, too, noticed the referee stretched stoppage time more than a bit. I'm just going to leave it at that. All said and done, if you're up two goals in stoppage time, you've got to kill off the match.
I know the players won't be satisfied. A response back at the Banc this weekend will be the best remedy.