For me this game had me on edge. While I was watching I was on the edge of my seat, I fist pumped the air, I face palmed, I laughed, I shouted (both in joy and frustration), and I let out an enormous sigh of relief when the final whistle blew.
The Dynamo had a number of good opportunities to score but squandered most of them, and let the Montreal Impact knock a little too close to the door of our goal for my comfort. The defense really held together and covered brilliantly for each other if someone was caught too far up or out of position. Perhaps it was luck and won't happen again next time, but this time our players were in the right spot at the right time to cover for someone's error or marker. The Dynamo had a few chances to score more than one goal (at least two 1v1's by my count), but one goal seemed enough. Here are your player ratings for the match:
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tally Hall (6.5) - Our #1 man in goal came up with a few crucial big plays and recorded 4 official saves, but it feels like a lot more. The Impact had several chances to score, but Hall was always there. His distribution from the back still remains a big area of concern, and in this match he could have controlled his defenders' positioning better. That being said, I won't argue with a second consecutive shutout.
Kofi Sarkodie (7) - Sarkodie came up very huge in the 62nd clearing a ball off the line that bounced around too much way too near the goal. Sarkodie was tasked with controlling Justin Mapp on the ball which he did a remarkable job of doing - something that limited the Impact's number of quality chances. Sarkodie nearly had a goal himself when he chested a ball down and almost curled it in.
Jermaine Taylor (5.5) - Taylor still looks like he's in preseason form as he looked out of position and a tad slower than usual (although the rain didn't help). A shutout helps his case for the starting job, but he'll really need to start syncing up with David Horst better about moving forward (something Taylor did often) and switching who they're marking.
David Horst (7) - David Horst had his 2nd quality start at center back and controlled his area superbly. Horst often had to track and cover multiple opponents, and still he held his own. He won nearly every header, which is good because the Dynamo are conceding plenty of corners at the moment, and he nearly had a goal off a header. I hope he and Taylor find a bit more chemistry on the field together, but right now Horst is more than covering his end.
Corey Ashe (6) - Ashe had a quiet game, but he was very active in moving the ball up the field to Davis and others. The rain and wet conditions didn't seem to affect Ashe as he was able to move up the field and back to help defend with ease.
Ricardo Clark (6.5) - Clark too had a quiet game, but was his usual patrolling self that helped disrupt play in the midfield and was an excellent distributor of the ball. He had his hands a bit fuller as Boniek didn't quite play up to last week's standard and Clark was forced into defending deep rather than playing higher up.
Andrew Driver (5.5) - For the second week in a row Driver almost scored. Driver had an almost empty net in the 9th minute after a beautifully weighted pass from Barnes, but Driver knocked it right at Troy Perkins. Driver does a few things very well: spread the field and run (usually down the line and at opponents). He did both of those on Saturday, but it seemed like he needed to do more because Montreal had made Driver fairly invisible.
Boniek Garcia (6) - After coming off a very good week, Boniek decided to slow things down. Of course the weather was likely a factor, but Boniek turned the ball over in poor places that led to a few very dangerous Montreal counter attacks. He still provided that attacking spark, but the Dynamo played the ball out wide rather than through the center - the opposite of last week's game.
Brad Davis (6.5) - Davis played a very strong game in which he distributed the ball well and defended well. Davis was very quick to get back on defense and made a few brilliant tackles on the defensive end. I agree with a reader for corners and free kicks, Horst needs to be a primary target. Hopefully with the weekend to rest we'll get some of that next game. Also of note: two weeks in a row, after a Brad Davis corner the Dynamo have scored within a minute or two....just a random observation.
Giles Barnes (6.5) - I really thought Barnes would have a goal based on his performances these two weeks. Barnes was easily the fastest player on the field and wasn't slowed by the field at all. He showed he could shoot from range with a bit of accuracy and can pass very well. I still don't think he's being fully utilized as Will Bruin's striking partner, but he's creating space and moving the ball very well even if he hasn't been on the score sheet yet.
Will Bruin, MotM, (7.5) - Bruin played the role of the hero in this one as his lone goal proved to be enough to earn the Dynamo 3 points. Bruin did two things to put some criticism to rest, or maybe encourage more debate. 1) His goal showed us some of his footwork. Sure it wasn't that pretty, but it did the job. 2) He showed us he could pass fairly accurately, or at least chest pass. The Dancing Bear is off to a great start this year.
Brian Ownby (6) - We have an Ownby sighting! I am an Ownby fan, but our depth has made it really hard for him to see much playing time. Ownby came on for Driver in the 82nd and was forced to play defense mostly. His style of play is actually very similar to Driver's in they both have the ability to run and run at you. Hopefully he gets to see some more time or at the very least tear it up in the reserves.
Servando Carrasco (-) - Carrasco was subbed on for Davis in an apparent precautionary injury substitution in the 86th minute (I don't think Davis was injured, this was just preventative I believe). Carrasco and the Dynamo defended deep at this point, but he really didn't see enough of the ball to make a fair grade.
Mark Sherrod (-) - Sherrod came on for Giles Barnes in the last minute of regulation time making his 2nd appearance. Sherrod won a few balls in the air, but not a lot of time for him to judge his play.
Coach Dominic Kinnear (7) - Kinnear played it safe this week, and the only adjustment to his lineup was inserting Andrew Driver at RM for the injured Tony Cascio. The weather obviously played a factor in the Dynamo's tactics as they played a number of long balls, and played out wide more than they did last week. In the end, the Dynamo were forced in defending a number of counters after poor giveaways in the midfield, but they still managed a 2nd consecutive shutout win proving once again it is not easy to come to BBVA Compass Stadium and earn points unless your shirt color is orange.