HOUSTON - MAY 15: Macoumba Kandji #9 of the Houston Dynamo reacts after missing a goal opportunity against the Portland Timbers at BBVA Compass Stadium on May 15, 2012 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Well that was not a match to write home about. It happens in every sport, not every game is great and while last night's nil-nil draw between the Houston Dynamo and the Portland Timbers will not make any highlight reels, it wasn't the worst match we've ever seen. It's a little disappointing to leave points on the table against a struggling Timbers side but considering the lineup changes and the insanely busy schedule the Dynamo are facing right now, a point is a point.
The biggest positive for me is the defense. There were some major questions just a month ago about how the back line was playing, thanks in large part to several mental breakdowns that led to goals. Since the 3-2 loss at DC United which was a defensive train wreck, things have gotten steadily better and that's a good thing. Defense is this team's bread and butter, after all we have not true central attacking midfielder and there are going to be times where goals just are not being generated.
If you want to point to a single reason why the defense has been getting better, it's Jermaine Taylor. The Jamaican defender has been a house a fire of late and if you watched last night's match, you saw him make fantastic player after fantastic play. Since there's a real chance Geoff Cameron could be gone for international duty very soon, having Taylor playing some of his best soccer since joining the team is important (unless he's off playing for Jamaica which is very likely). Add to that he's playing out of position, it's just that much more impressive.
The offense, for the most part, stunk last night. There were a couple chances late, referee Chris Penso completely screwed the pooch on Futty Danso's blatant take out of Calen Carr, but it simply wasn't good enough. It happens, that's how this team operates and while we know it, it still gets frustrating when the Dynamo go on multi-game stretches without the ability to score consistently. I'm hoping that once the schedule settles down and the lineup can be a bit more consistent, that things will pick up again.
Now, it is important to mention that the Dynamo did generate some great chances late in the match and Timbers goalkeeper Troy Perkins deserves a ton of credit for making some fantastic saves to preserve the point for his team. I do not want to take anything away from his performance.
I was quite upset with referee Chris Penso after his ridiculous no-call on Futty Danso's takeout of Calen Carr in the 82nd minute. After watching replays, it was clearly a mistake by the linesman who completely missed the play and failed to properly tell Penso what happened. Also, it doesn't matter one damn but that Danso got a touch on the ball, he played the man and erased Carr from the play. Clear foul and a definite case for a red card.
The Dynamo TV commentary team of Glenn Davis and Eddie Robinson did a spectacular job of explaining the play and the breakdown in the officiating.
A few thoughts:
- When Adam Moffat is unavailable or needs a rest, it's great having Nathan Sturgis available. He's not the physical force that the Scottish midfielder can be, but he's extremely smart with the ball, has a great work rate and is the type of player you need to do the dirty work in the midfield.
- Luiz Camargo is finally starting to influence the game in the way we saw towards the end of last season. The off-season injury set him back but you get the feeling he's almost back to full fitness and starting to find his game again.
- Calen Carr has really played well in the right side winger role. It's the biggest hole in the Dynamo lineup and if he can settle in to that spot, it could be a huge boost for the team moving forward.