The morning after losing a championship game is never enjoyable. Despite the fact that you tell yourself ahead of time, it's just great to be here, no one expected us to make this run, we're playing the best team in the league, all the things to try to prepare yourself mentally, it sucks.
Fortunately for Dynamo fans, the 2011 season which at one point looked on the verge of being a second straight season without playoffs, turned in to a magical run all the way to the brink of a third MLS Cup. Alas, that wasn't in the cards as Houston fell 1-0 to the Los Angeles Galaxy at the Home Depot Center on Sunday night.
The Dynamo played the game they wanted to play, got the breaks they needed to get, but were ultimately undone by a wonderful bit of passing between Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan and their ultimate inability to replace Brad Davis in the offense. There were chances, there were moments, but it always felt like an inevitability that the Galaxy would get their goal, but the Dynamo were not embarrassed and they did their fans proud in pushing the best team in MLS nearly to extra time in the final.
What we learned above all last night is that fact that this team needs a second creative midfield force. With the true MVP Brad Davis out of the game, the likes of Corey Ashe and Danny Cruz couldn't create the type of offensive flow that Houston needed. It's not a knock on these two guys, they played hard and did the best they could, but trying to fill the huge empty shoes left by Davis' absence would be a tall task for anyone (and that wasn't a short joke, I promise).
The defense was strong all night, Luiz Camargo and Adam Moffat virtually erased Landon Donovan from the game and if not for his one run and goal, he would have been a virtual non factor. Tally Hall was superb in goal, Geoff Cameron and Bobby Boswell great in the middle, it just was an all around strong performance and the Dynamo were fairly beaten by the better team.
As we now walk away from the 2011 season, we as Dynamo fans can smile and know that we've got a young team that has learned a great deal this year and should have a great deal of confidence going in to next season. More importantly, we have a new downtown stadium ready to open in May and a ton of momentum from the fantastic close to this season...and we're playing in the CONCACAF Champions League!
Lots to be excited about despite the loss and lots to be proud of...except for the small group of knuckleheads in the Dynamo supporters section that were throwing a battery and mini-flashlights (I think) at Dononvan and David Beckham as they attempted to take a corner kick in stoppage time. You know who you are and you embarrassed yourselves and Dynamo fans. That's all that needs to be said about that.
The work never ends though, the expansion draft is coming up soon so let's get back to work. 2012 season here we come!