HOUSTON, TX - JULY 15: Boniek Garcia #27 of the Houston Dynamo celebrates his goal off of a header in the second half against D.C. United at BBVA Compass Stadium on July 15, 2012 in Houston, Texas. Houston won 4-0. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
After two matches without a goal, the Dynamo offense awoke with a vengeance, putting four goals past a 10-man D.C. United. Now that's how you start a pivotal three match home stand.
Houston earned two penalties (scored by Brad Davis and Brian Ching), Boniek Garcia opened his MLS goal-scoring account with a fabulous header and Will Bruin joined in the on the fun as well off a tremendous assist from Luiz Camargo. It was a veritable cornucopia of goals!
It's of course important to note that the Dynamo played roughly 72 minutes with a man advantage after United goalkeeper Bill Hamid was sent off for tripping Macoumba Kandji in the box. It was a stone cold penalty, but perhaps a debatable red card, even though Hamid was the last defender. Either way, the call was made and the rout was on.
Houston needed a game like this to get their offense and new 4-3-3 formation working properly. The added space created allowed Boniek Garcia to attack the United defense like a man man, showing off his tremendous skills on the ball and make mince meat of whomever D.C. tried to put in front of him. Kandji was active as well, creating several chances for himself. Most importantly, Will Bruin scored his first goal since the formation switch to give him 10 on the season. After struggling a bit to adapt to his new role, it was nice to see the Dancing Bear get back in the saddle again.
Oh Boniek. After a couple bad designated player signings, the Dynamo have hit one out of the park (to steal a baseball term). It helps that he came in to the team fit and with an obvious desire to prove himself, add to that he's a great player and what's not to be excited about.
There are two observations about Boniek that really stuck with me watching last night. First, he tracks back. Dominic Kinnear's teams have always been strong defensive sides. One of the biggest problems you'll typically see from an offensive minded DP signing is a unwillingness to play all facets of the game. Boniek works hard all over the pitch, including tracking back defensively and helping to support the defense. That's refreshing to see. Second, he looks like he's genuinely having fun playing. How many times did the camera show him and we saw a big smile on his face? That kind of positive attitude is great and infectious, especially during the long hot summer.
Geoff Cameron returned to the lineup after missing the last couple games with a minor hamstring tweak. That or he was being held out as the Stoke City transfer was worked out. Cameron looked excellent in the midfield, bringing an improved level of passing and creativity that the 4-3-3 formation had honestly been lacking. Calen Carr and Je-Vaughn Watson also returned from injury, getting minutes in the second half.
The only real negative is the fact that as we become more and more resigned to the reality that Cameron will likely be leaving, we're reminded of how good this team could be with him back in the midfield. It also proves that his struggles last year had more to do with his deployment in the formation than his skills to play a more forward role. It also helps that Jermaine Taylor is one hell of a defender.
Fortunately, I think Watson can fill that Cameron role in the midfield if the transfer completes this week. He's a creative player and had been consistently improving over the season before his injury. If Watson can provide the kind of vision and creative play, or at least close to it, that we saw from Cameron, things will be fine.
All in all, a fantastic night for the Dynamo and the fans in attendance at BBVA Compass Stadium.
I promised everyone a memorable match report and no doubt you're thinking, this isn't very memorable. Have no fear, I wrote more, but it's angry and a bit ranty so I'm going to publish it just a little later in my Monday Morning Centre Back column. After all, this was a great win, so let's get things upbeat and positive here.
The Dynamo are back in action on Wednesday against the Eastern Conference leading Sporting KC. Expect some lineup changes to keep the team fresh, but everyone should be over flowing with confidence after last night's big win.