Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tally Hall (6) - While Tally Hall had his fair share of pressure from a KC side that kept the ball in our half of the field a large portion of the game, Hall only collected 2 saves. The defense looked usually pretty organized, but on the long throw-in that led to the goal, the defense was not. Nobody was on the back post which would have prevented any goal at all and would have changed the rest of the game. Sometimes it's just one play that players get caught sleeping a little and it did cost the Dynamo.
Kofi Sarkodie (6.5) - Sarkodie really played well tonight. He took a lot of physical punishment, and was able to stay composed, and do his job. He regularly made great tackles, and moved the ball up the right side of the field. Dynamo beat writer Darrell Lovell suggested Sarkodie receive the Most Improved Player award. Plenty of competition, but it's nice to get a nod for it.
Bobby Boswell, MotM, (7) - Boswell had his hands full stopping Claudio Bieler and just about every Kansas City player that made it into the Dynamo half. Bieler and Boswell got into it a bit as Bieler had been initiating contact all night, and Boswell would not have that. Boswell was the leader of the back, and helped Eric Brunner get his legs for the game early.
Jermaine Taylor (6) - Jermaine Taylor helped anchor the defense alongside Bobby Boswell, and did a fairly good job of helping limit attempts on goal to shots from range. Taylor took his fair share of physical blows, but also got to showcase some of his speed chasing down long balls and through balls. Taylor was limited to just 45 minutes of play due to illness.
Corey Ashe (6) - Like the rest of the defenders Corey Ashe had his hands full trying to limit Zusi, Bieler, Peterson, etc. Ashe lost his composure after a challenge on Tally Hall by Claudio Bieler and rightly received a yellow card for his action. While it was nice to see him fired up and trying to stick up for his teammate, he didn't need to push Bieler after play had stopped. Ashe was able to get into the attack and create some chances, but there was too much back passing by the midfield for any real offensive momentum to be gained - until the goal that is.
Adam Moffat (5) - Maybe this rating is a little unfair, but when we think about the distribution that was coming out of the back, and how many passes went towards our own goal, we need to think for a minute. Moffat was a big culprit in backwards passing which denied any opportunity to get forward. Yes, Kansas was being overly physical, I'll get to that later, but if the ref isn't calling the game a certain way, players need to adapt and try to win. Defensively, Moffat was fairly strong in his game, which was critical for large stretches where Kansas would continue to dispossess the Dynamo in the midfield, and then counter.
Ricardo Clark (6.5) - Ricardo Clark had another strong outing dispossessing, making good tackles, and taking a couple of shots on goal. His passing has really gotten better, but the midfield overall didn't seem too committed in getting the ball forward until SKC scored. Oh Clark also drew 6 fouls, some of which in dangerous places.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (6) - Boniek was beaten up. The guy really didn't know what he was walking into out there, but he stayed cool and did what he could to keep the ball, move the ball, and draw the occasional foul. My biggest concern was his work on the offensive end, which he had 0 attempts on goal, and he lined up as a right forward in the 4-3-3.
Andrew Driver (6) -Driver showed us his usual spark of himself that he is for most of the game, but the tired legs did show themselves here and there. Driver was lined up as the left forward or left winger role, and did what he could to try to cross the ball in. He was especially active late in the game when he was back in his LM spot with Ching, Bruin, and Johnson occupying the top spots, and his shot that nearly tied the game was SO CLOSE! Oh well, next time.
Brad Davis (7) - The captain contributed to most of the offensive chances on Sunday. He tried from set pieces, he tried crossing the ball in, he tried toe-poking the ball in late to try, but nothing seemed to work. He also suffered, or drew, 4 fouls which was more than anyone else on the field not named Ricardo Clark which helped create a few chances as well. But, while chances are great, they only really matter if the ball finds the net.
Will Bruin (5.5) - The dancing bear came off a fantastic performance against DC United scoring 2 goals and notching 2 assists, and many expected him to carry this momentum over to Kansas, which was necessary without his usual partner upfront Giles Barnes. That did not happen. Bruin tends to struggle in the 4-3-3 lineup and as a lone striker - which he is in the 4-3-3. His hold up play was fairly good early on, but he soon faded out which happens when you don't get the ball very often. Bruin was aided by a good target forward in Brian Ching, and the speedy Jason Johnson, but still seemed fairly off the entire night. Get well Giles Barnes, the bear needs ya.
Eric Brunner (6) - Brunner established himself early on that he was ready to fill in for the ill Jermaine Taylor. He made the right tackles, won the right balls in the air, and really has become a great option for the Dynamo.
Brian Ching (6.5) - Brian Ching and Jason Johnson came on for Kofi Sarkodie and Adam Moffat in the 77th minute following the Sporting Kansas City goal. Ching became the target forward that helped distribute balls with his back to goal, and he did that very well. Ching's passing was very strong despite some very physical play on him. Ching helped set up a few of our late efforts in order to salvage a draw and the record.
Jason Johnson (6) - Jason Johnson played his first major minutes with the team, and he got thrown into the fire. Johnson, already known for his speed, showcased a variety of other skills that he possessed as well. He showed his ability to take on opponents 1v1, his vision towards goal and towards teammates, and his ability to draw more opponents. Overall, a very solid first outing, but yes, as Eddie Robinson pointed out, that header towards goal should not have been driven into the ground. Oh well, next time.
Dominic Kinnear (6) - Kinnear had the difficult task of fielding a strong lineup at home after visiting Los Angeles on Sunday, and Washington DC on Wednesday. He moved into a 4-3-3, something he has been known to do against SKC, and while the defense seemed strong for most of the game, the offense never really got going. Opting to use Ching in the lineup may have been better than an augmented version of the usual 4-4-2 players. Some players looked more comfortable than others. As soon as our top 3 were Ching, Bruin, and Johnson, the Dynamo and the fans thought a goal would come. Yes, part of that is desperation, but Bruin and the attack never looked comfortable until then. At any rate, a 1-0 defeat isn't too shabby in the end, and at least we didn't get beat by the Sounders at home /cough SKC.
Officiating (3.5) - While officiating is usually a big topic, especially in big games, or games that feel big, this game got a little bit out of hand. Tempers were flaring on both ends, and one got the sense that the officials never had much control over the game. Some players could have gotten hurt, which is something no fan wants to see regardless of which team you support. Kansas City held an overwhelming edge in the amount of fouls committed (10 Dynamo fouls to 25 SKC fouls), something that makes one question why more cards weren't given (both teams had 2 yellows). At any rate, this part of the discussion won't go away, unfortunately, our home record did. I won't say it was because of the officiating, because if a lot of tackles weren't being called, the team needs to get tough and figure out how to find the net anyways.
My take on the game and other musings:
I think there were a number of factors that led up to the result that saw the streak come to an end. The game was physical and it was obvious that not everything was getting called, which seems odd considering one team had 25 fouls committed. Tired legs also were a factor; both teams did have a midweek game and a game the previous weekend, but the difference was travel schedules and the Dynamo's was far more strenuous. The Dynamo also sat back, passed back, and seemed unmotivated to get the ball into the final third of the field until Sporting Kansas City found the net. This could be a tired legs phenomenon, but I think the Dynamo were just overly complacent or perhaps too beaten up to move forward...yeah let's go with that.
In the end, the streak was grand. Someone tweeted "don't be sad it's over, be glad it happened" which took out some of the sting of this one for me. This record isn't going anywhere any time soon, and in the meantime we still have one of the toughest places to play. The Dynamo also earned 6 points in 3 games, 2 of which were on the road and very far apart in a very short amount of time. I'd say it's been a pretty good week, and it's still a great start to the year. Here's hoping the injured players get healthy and we continue our domination at BBVA Compass and our new ability to get it done on the road. Dale Dynamo!