• 63°

Davy Arnaud: Dynamo ‘believed’ after slow Saturday start

Davy Arnaud’s head coaching debut didn’t end in victory, but it didn’t end in defeat, either.

In fact, the Houston Dynamo — not a full week removed from removing their last head coach — came from a 2-0 deficit to tie the Colorado Rapids 2-2 Saturday night at BBVA Stadium, ending a four-game MLS slide (five overall). Arnaud, a 1999 Nederland High School graduate who was the assistant coach the past 2½ years, was elevated to replace Wilmer Cabrera in the interim.

Davy Arnaud

“It was interesting because in the locker room you would think their heads would be hung down but that wasn’t the case,” Arnaud said after the match. “You could see when we talked at halftime you could see it in their eyes that they believed. They were disappointed. They were upset with how the first half went.”

Arnaud said he received many calls and texts from supporters from Nederland when he was elevated. Many from his hometown made the 90-minute-or-so journey west, making the match “really special” to the 39-year-old.

The Dynamo (9-13-4) hadn’t come from a 0-2 hole since storming back to beat the Galaxy 3-2 in Los Angeles last Oct. 28. Arnaud’s charges took a season-high 26 shots and possessed the ball 61.6% of the time.

Forward Mauro Manotas single-handedly erased the deficit in a span of 5 minutes. He took a curling ball from Adam Lundkvist and fired past Clint Irwin to put Houston on the board. Manotas netted the equalizer off a cross from Tommy McNamara in the 79th.

“To me it was huge,” Arnaud said. “I think it sends a message to the entire group. It sends a message to the fans that they believe in themselves and we believe in them. It was a rough start to the game, but you see when we scored the first goal. You can feel it, right. You feel the energy start to lift and we knew if we got the first, the second was going to come and the second comes, I think, 5 minutes later. When you respond like that to such adversity, we’ve used that word this week — adversity, we’ve been through some of that. But when you respond in that way and you get a result from a bad position, I couldn’t be prouder.”

Colorado scored goals in the seventh and 38th minutes, but Arnaud said it wasn’t a matter of the Dynamo coming out slowly, pointing to breakdowns on each play.

“It was a complicated situation, a different game,” Manotas said. “If I am not mistaken, we made 20 or 25 shots, we shot like never before, but the ball did not enter. We found a goalkeeper who was very good. And they scored on two mistakes from our end. We were able to draw. We lacked time to win, but we are calm. The team gave everything. We got a point.”

In MLS standings, three points are awarded for each win and one for a tie. Houston remains ninth in the Western Conference with 31, six behind its next opponent, FC Dallas. That meeting is scheduled for Sunday at Toyota Stadium in Frisco.

The Rapids (7-13-6) have 27 points, two spots behind Houston.

Manotas said the Dynamo responded to Arnaud’s leadership following what he called a difficult week.

“This is soccer,” he said. “We had three years seeing Wilmer. Now, getting to the dressing room and not seeing him is rare. But Davy, he is a great coach, a great person, a great motivator who has given us back the confidence that we had lost.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.