Well, it's definitely not the end of the world because the Dynamo lost to a team that was near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. And it's not the end of the world that Houston has now lost two games at home after not losing in a long, long time. The Dynamo still sit in third in the Eastern Conference after two consecutive losses and will now turn their focus to a three game road trip.
This past weekend's match against the New England Revolution (3-4-4, 13 points) saw a few things go wrong. The Dynamo (6-4-2, 20 points) walked out of BBVA Compass Stadium with the sting of a 2-0 defeat, their second consecutive loss at home after going nearly two years unbeaten in Houston.
While simply reviewing statistics, the game looked like Houston's to win. The Dynamo outshot New England 20-11, but only managed to get three on frame. Houston had more corner kicks (6-1), open play crosses (20-7), and held the edge in possession (54%-46%) on the night. You can break down the statistics all you want, but in the end only one matters - and that edge went to New England.
The real storyline as it relates to Houston was the club losing its two center backs (one to injury, the other to suspension), Will Bruin's rough night (6 shots, 1 on frame), and Brian Ching's post game comments.
Jermaine Taylor Injury
Jermaine Taylor went down awkwardly on this left shoulder just 10 minutes into the match and was visibly in a pretty good amount of pain. He didn't head to the locker room, but had his shoulder wrapped in ice on the bench for the rest of the contest and was in a sling on Sunday.
During the Reserve Match Sunday morning at BBVA Compass Stadium, no further details were made available regarding his injury, but we've been told more information could be learned today.
Obviously losing your starting center back to injury could be a huge blow, especially combined with the absence of his partner Bobby Boswell due to suspension. Eric Brunner stepped in for Taylor, but while he's a solid option for depth, he doesn't provide the same level of play the Jamaican international does.
Bobby Boswell Sees Red
At the match, similar to most fans, I didn't quite see what happened initially. Once the pushing and shoving between the Revs and Dynamo started I figured something had to have happened between Boswell and Imbongo, seeing they had spent most of the match challenging each other. Boswell was sent off immediately, and Dimitry Imbongo saw read after he decided to finally get off the pitch and on his feet. No acting could save him from the inevitable.
I didn't have much to say regarding the play since I didn't see it happen, nor see a replay during the match. As of now, I've seen the match highlights and I think referee Edvin Jurisevic made the right call. It doesn't appear that Boswell got much of Imbongo with the headbutt, but the intent was there. Both wrestled in the air and Imbongo stayed on the ground much longer than he needed to, which turned out to be a familiar scene from New England on the evening (more on that later).
In the post match press conference, Dominic Kinnear said he saw the replay at halftime and thought the referee "handled it pretty well." He also dismissed the fact the discipline had much impact on the game since both teams lost a player and went the distance with an even amount of players on the field.
Brian Ching's Frustration
The biggest story on the evening happened post match, with Dynamo legend Brian Ching giving the press some candid thoughts on the match, and specifically addressing his frustrations with the amount of time New England players spent on the ground time wasting.
It was pretty evident Ching was having some words with some New England players, most notably Juan Agudelo, and the player/assistant coach was asked about the words exchanged.
"Be men," Ching said was the overall message to New England and its players. He called upon the veterans of the team to teach the younger players "how to play the game the right way," adding this type of display was "embarrassing" to the league.
Ching specifically referenced players diving on the ground when they weren't actually hurt, and specifically referenced the young US Men's National Team striker and said, "Agudelo grabbed his face when I ran into him."
"You guys are up 2-0. You guys scored two goals on us and you don't need to be wasting time. You don't need to be rolling around on the ground like you've been shot," Ching added.
Ching went on to say teams come into BBVA Compass Stadium and they've figured out how to "come in here and get away with theatrics," adding this was the second game in a row with questionable tactics from the opposing club.
Before the press conference was concluded, Ching wanted to make sure the press understood one thing. Houston didn't lose due to the theatrics he was criticizing, adding, "Look, that's not the story here. We lost. We know we lost and we didn't play well."
Ching's comments were delivered well. Some will take the comments out of context (which likely happens with opposing fans), but this not a simple conversation with a frustrated player on the losing side. Ching brought up valid concerns I think most Major League Soccer fans would find it hard to argue. He made it very clear that he was separating the team's performance versus tactics. He gave credit to New England for coming into a tough place to win and getting a result, but was critical of some of the player's character and how they handled themselves.
Here's the full audio:
SKC on the Horizon
Next up for the Dynamo is a match with Sporting Kansas City (6-4-3, 21 points) at Sporting Park. Houston will be looking to avenge the loss to Sporting just two weeks ago, their first at home in nearly two years. Boswell will miss the match due to his red card, which is a shame considering he was pretty vocal about how SKC handled their behaviors after their win in Houston two weeks ago. Jermaine Taylor is in question as well and Kinnear will have to figure out how to patch his defense together ahead of the match.
The game in Kansas City will be the first of three road game for Houston. With injuries, national team call ups, and two consecutive losses, the Dynamo suddenly find themselves in a tough situation. The question isn't whether they are up to the task - we all know this is a championship caliber team - but this team needs someone to step up and lead it though these next few games.
Will it be Andrew Driver - who has given the Dynamo an unforeseen spark to the young season? Will it be Giles Barnes who has been the offensive force behind the Dynamo? Or will Will Bruin, who has struggled this season, finally get on track?
What were your thoughts on the match? The red card and altercation? Brian Ching's comments? And what'll it take for Houston to right the wrongs in the matches ahead? Sound off Dynamo fans.