Just because the Dynamo are still undefeated in the pre-season (5-0-3) doesn't mean everything is suddenly perfect in Naranja Land. There's no doubt this year's version of the team is better than last year's in terms of being younger and more athletic, but there are still clearly some kinks to work out.
We saw on Saturday night against FC Dallas that the defense is still a work in progress; the parts are there but just how the final product is going to look is still to be determined. That said, I don't think anyone should be concerned because they aren't playing bad, we just haven't seen what Kinnear's preferred back four will be. Once he settles of his starting lineup, we should see the defense solidify and return to the kind of game to game performance that we've come to expect from a Dominic Kinnear coached team.
There's a lot of new faces to integrate in the back so the communication will take a little time to come around, but they are getting there.
The second element will be the development of Tally Hall in goal. There were a couple spots against both Toronto FC and FC Dallas where Hall either didn't communicate properly with his defenders or wasn't quite confident enough in his decision making. Once again though, no reason to be concerned. Hall is going to be an excellent goalkeeper but he's still learning and no amount of practice time can substitute for good old classic real game minutes.
It's completely possible we could see a few more mix-ups in the rest of the pre-season and maybe even early in the regular season, but his group will get where it needs to go and the defense will be better in 2011.
How key is Brad Davis to this team?
If you watched the FC Dallas match you saw a clear example of just how important the midfielder is to what the Dynamo will try to do this season. In the first half with Davis on the bench, the Dynamo attack looked stale and failed to really generate any sustatined pressure. With Davis in the game in the second half, Houston was a different team, even after a cavalcade of substitutes.
As important as guys like Geoff Cameron and Brian Ching are and will be to the team's success this season, Brad Davis is the engine for the Dynamo attack and if there was ever any doubt about that, we were quickly reminded this weekend.
The match I keep alluding to form the weekend against FC Dallas was the championship game of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. Dallas won 5-3 on penalty kicks, but the story of the match was Francisco Navas Cobo's brilliant strike in the 89th minute to tie the match. The goal was a definite peak and the potential Cisco has and what Dynamo fans potentially have to look forward to in the coming seasons.