Jermaine Taylor was in full-fledged Beast Mode all game, fully meriting his inclusion in the Starting XI. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
So I have the joy of writing the post match for a game one of our beloved readers labelled as "b-o-r-i-n-g". I could probably sum this match up in just a few words, but that's not exactly my style, now is it? Read on after the jump for my half-asleep analysis and opinions. You know you want to.
The final of the game was 0-0. The game played fairly evenly possession-wise, with nearly 50% both ways. What is alarming, however, is the disparity in shots. The Sporks ran away with a total of 17 attempts, and of those, four were on target. The Houston Dynamo on the other hand, had a seriously unimpressive seven attempts, and of those, an extremely anemic two were on target. TWO BLOODY SHOTS WERE ON TARGET!
Yes, I just yelled that last statement. Yes, that is extremely alarming. Yes, it does make the draw seem that much easier to swallow. No, that is not how bad the Dynamo actually are offensively, and I have stats to prove it.
But first, let's go to the video right after the jump:
I know there have been some who have knocked on Adam Moffat and Luiz Camargo, but I took this opportunity (because I'm certainly not going to recap the crap we were subjected to earlier) to examine the passing accuracy of each player for the Dynamo. These are the results:
Looking strictly at passes, not including flick ons, crosses or through balls, the Dynamo managed 363 successful passes and 72 unsuccessful passes. That's really a pretty darn good possession rate with passing. So where is the disconnect? Let me thrill you with more statistical joy by looking at the defensive passing rates first.
So really, that's pretty damn good for center backs, actually.
While those aren't stellar, they aren't really that bad, are they? Surprised me, too.
So our backs are distributing decently. (During the week I do intend to check distribution vertically versus hortzontally - yay OptaStats!)
Luiz Camargo - 11 successful, two unsuccessful - 84.6% success rate
Brad Davis - 26 successful, four unsuccessful - 86.7% success rate
Boniek Garcia - 27 successful, eight unsuccessful - 77.1% success rate
Adam Moffat - 50 successful, seven unsuccessful - 87.7% success rate
So heck, our midfielders aren't losing the ball at an alarming rate either.
Realistically, for forwards those numbers for Bruin aren't worrisome either. So wow. With all of that, we've learned in this game we passed pretty accurately, and did well to maintain possession. That's really quite relieving to know. What scares me, however, is while we're accurate at passing, we can't seem to get the ball past the defense.
So what exactly IS the alarming stat?
Well, for me, it's this one: 104 Tackles losing possession. To put the number into perspective, the Dynamo successfully passed the ball as a team 392 times, yet they lost the ball due to a tackle by the opposing team 104 times. To put THAT number into a format easier to understand, 20% of the time (this isn't accurate, really, and I know it, but it gives a better picture of where the problem seems to lie) the Dynamo lost possession not due to bad passing, but due to being tackled.
I don't know how much you have gleaned from the stats I've listed here, as it is I'm half-asleep and shocked if any of it makes sense. However, I still find it enlightening to see. For those interested, you can view the OptaStats for every game at MLS Soccer. Under Schedule, click on MatchCenter and then Chalkboard. It is truly a wealth of information and statistics, and could really open eyes to the reality of what we see versus what is really going on. It has certainly changed my perception of our weaknesses, and I've only been watching the stats for the last three games.
Oh, did I mention we nabbed a draw on the road? Anytime you can take a result on the road it's never a bad thing, especially when you can't seem to even shoot the damned ball. Still, it would have been nice to have the three points. Every game becomes more and more important as the season wears on, and we continue to drop points we desperately need.
On a side note, the best chance of the night came on some nifty ball skills by none other than our own Designated Player, Boniek Garcia. Jimmy Nielsen made a pretty solid save, and ended up most likely salvaging the draw for the Sporks as a result.
Grades (only starting XI)
Jermaine Taylor: A- Dude was just beast mode all over the Sporks. Wasn't perfect, but wasn't far from it either.
Bobby Boswell: B He continued the recent trend of tracking back quickly (who knew he had recovery speed still?) and continuing his dominance in the air on headers.
Corey Ashe: C- He wasn't stellar, but he was good enough to hold the draw. A couple of times, Sporks got past him, and he owes a free dinner to Taylor for covering his sorry ass every time.
Andre Hainault: C+ Service wasn't terrible, but again it wasn't anything to write home about. He was definitely the better of the Dynamo outside backs tonight, though.
Brad Davis: D+ Did Brad Davis play at all outside of set pieces? He's found himself becoming more and more overshadowed, and I think he likes that. It allows him to sit back a little and let the game come to him. Now if only it actually CAME to him, and didn't just act like it's a junior high dance and the game can't mix with the real Brad Davis.
Luiz Camargo: C+ He was pretty solid defensively, and wasn't anything special offensively. He had a few moments of shine, but for the most part it was like trying to polish a turd. Eventually, you get a shine, but you gotta put a hell of a lot of work in for what ultimately is a shiny ball of poop. Curious how this works? Check out Mythbusters!
Adam Moffat: C+ His passes were mostly crisp when he had the ball, and while he did lose possession a few times, he was on point for most of the game. I think, personally, he is slowly finding his form from last season. Look out when he does. Place is gonna EXPLODE.
Boniek Garcia: B+ One of the truly bright spots on this team right now. Sure, his passes don't always find their mark, but unlike the vast majority of the team he has no problem trying to generate movement and space. He takes defenders on, and is willing to do the gritty work to make things easier for his teammates. He already is the best DP we've ever had.
Will Bruin: D- Ouch. This formation, as has been stated ad nauseum, is not kind to the Dancing Bear. He's not comfortable in it, and he struggles to find his place in it. If he can begin to gel with his teammates in this formation, though, things are going to get insane.
Mac Kandji: B- Anytime a player who is set as a forward tracks back to cover for Corey Ashe's pathetic excuse for an LB, REPEATEDLY, he deserves a shoutout. Kandji, however, deserves our respect. He has a passion, even when things look decided already, he lays it all on the line. He doesn't give up, and he puts his all into the game. I'm willing to admit I'm high on Kandji-aide right now, but I love what I'm seeing. Hope he keeps it up.
There wasn't enough to see from the subs to really give a quality grade to them. Disagree/Agree? Hit up the comments.