TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 7: Dicoy Williams #31 of Toronto FC battles for the ball with Je-Vaughn Watson #10 of Houston Dynamo during MLS action at BMO Field May 7, 2011 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Abelimages/Getty Images)
After an unbeaten streak of six matches, the Dynamo have gone a bit off the rails with two straight losses to the Colorado Rapids and Toronto FC. It's far to early to panic, but considering the schedule between now and June 1st, there is certainly reason to be concerned.
This is a good team, with talent at a lot of positions and clearly worthy of being amongst the player contenders in MLS, but there is still work to be done to sure up the tactics and get everyone on the same page. Let's face it, the Dynamo looked listless for nearly 80 minutes on Saturday night, only showing a spark after going down two goals.
Dominic Kinnear was honest in his assessment of his team's failures after the match.
"I'm disappointed. I think [Toronto is] a team that if we showed the same urgency for the whole game that we showed in the last 20 minutes," Kinnear said. "I think it's a team we could've beat. We made a mistake that led to a penalty and then you're chasing the game. It was a good play by them to break us down for the second goal."
There were many things the Dynamo didn't show until the end of the match, not just urgency. Tactically the Dynamo looked a bit lost and the possession based attack we had seen over the past month went away as Brad Davis virtually disappeared from the match and Sergio Koke seemed to be moving all over the field trying to create and get involved. It really felt like Koke was working too hard and his teammates aren't quite sure how to play with the Spanish forward yet.
"We had a lot of chances but couldn't find a way to score." Davis said. "Every chance right now teams are getting, they're scoring, and we go down and can't score at all. I don't know how many balls we sent into the box but we can't finish."
I don't completely agree with Davis' assessment, considering that nobody was generating many chances on Saturday night and the few times Davis or Freeman got forward, the crossing and service was not up to they usual standards.
Defensively, the Dynamo once again succumbed to mistakes.
"We fought back and got that goal back and we pushed for the equalizer, which is a positive to take from the game," said Andre Hainault. "But we've got to get better overall."
Hainault's slight tackle from behind on Nick Soolsma in the box led to the first Toronto goal, but the real blame for the play has to be laid at the feet of veteran defender Eddie Robinson whose sloppiness with possession led to Soolsma being able to break free on goal and forced a quick reaction from Hainault. Jermaine Taylor's foot can't heal fast enough.
Why Robinson was even the match is up for debate. I suppose Corey Ashe was being given a night off and that necessitated moving Hainualt outside to allow Robinson to cover in the middle, but considering the Dynamo have Mike Chabala and Kofi Sarkodie sitting on the bench, you have to wonder what the decision making process was in setting up the defense the way the coaches did.
Hopefully the sub-par performance in Toronto is a blip on the radar rather than a growing trend. With a trip to Real Salt Lake next weekend, followed by a seven day stretch that includes a trip to Carson to face the Galaxy, bookended by home matches against New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas.
One thing is certain, by June we should have a good idea of just how good this Dynamo team really is.