Hopefully everyone is feeling a little better this Monday compared to last Monday. Exiting a weekend in which the Dynamo secured a point on the road tends to make one feel a little better about things, at least for the time being. While it wasn't the prettiest match on Friday night in Seattle, the Dynamo showed signs of the kind of effort and play they will need to bring week in and week out.
Overshadowing that however is one simple fact. Houston, we have a goalkeeper!
Not that I ever doubted that Tally Hall was the right man to replace Pat Onstad but until a new starter has a breakout performance, there is the inevitable lingering doubts in the back of your mind that can cause you to over analyze the smallest errors.
Hall was nothing short of brilliant, making 6 saves (though it honestly felt like a lot more) and keeping the Dynamo in the the match in the first half and helping to preserve the point in the second. The lone Seattle goal wasn't his fault, as a combination of deflection and odd skip on the turf left him stuck in place and unable to react to the wide open Steve Zakuani. It happens.
What we did see from Hall was a goalkeeper that was more aggressive and more willing to move off his line when the situation called for it. He learned from his slightly timid reaction to the throw that led to the Philadelphia Union's lone goal from the opener and looked to make plays rather than let things come to in. Of course it's a fine balance but I'd rather see a goalkeeper being aggressive and proactive about potentially dangerous situations.
Hall, who is from Gig Harbor, WA, was stellar is his homecoming in front of friends and family. After the match Dominic Kinnear praised his keeper and made a suggestion to help Hall have many repeat performances this season.
"Maybe he saves it for his family," Kinnear said. "But if that's the case, we'll be traveling with his family from now on because he was excellent."
Overall it wasn't a perfect match and the Dynamo midfield was overrun for most of the first half, but it's a point and it's progress. Kofi Sarkodie played well in his debut and Brian Ching returned as a late substitute, just missing the possible game winner on a header he sent just wide of Kasey Keller's goal. The cross to set up Ching came from Geoff Cameron and was an absolute beauty. It's the kind of play that Dynamo fans have been waiting for from Cameron as he continues to adjust to his central midfield role.
"We were fortunate to be up 1-0 at halftime, but we came and played better in the second half. With all of their chances, maybe they were due a goal, but the goal we gave up was very sloppy. This is one of the harder places to play in the league, so one point isn't terrible. We're happy with that. We're not thrilled, but we're happy with that."
Halftime Adjustments: "We held the ball a lot better in the second half, especially the forwards. They gave us possession farther up the field. In the first half we struggled to hold that ball and that's why we were pinned for the period that we were."
"I enjoy coming here (Seattle). I don't try any harder than I do for any other game. It's always a dogfight between us and Seattle. This was one of those games that was scrappy. Our goal was kind of a scrappy goal and theirs was a bit of a scrappy goal and that's what the game dictates."
MLS' new partnership with Opta is starting to pay dividens as the statistics company has begun to provide more in-depth data about league matches. By the Opta Numbers - March 25, 2011 | Houston Dynamo