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The First Third: Who do we blame?

HOUSTON - MAY 21: Do we blame Lovel Palmer #22 of the Houston Dynamo? (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - MAY 21: Do we blame Lovel Palmer #22 of the Houston Dynamo? (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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Sitting and reading through Dynamo Theory the last week or two has been rough.  Watching the Dynamo play their last few games has been even rougher.  The team has made some progress from last year, but the defense is definitely not progressing.

It used to be when teams spoke of the Dynamo, they spoke of defense and finding a way to beat the defense.  Now, I swear they must be dreaming about exploiting it.  Lately, it seems like every team has.  Where should the blame fall for the mental lapses, loss of focus and general lack of defensive stoutness the Dynamo Championship seasons were most known for?

With most sports the blame would fall to both the players and coaches, and if we were to be honest if a trend has begun to form which we the fans can clearly see then it is up to the coaches to nip it in the bud before it becomes a habit.  We've seen time after time the team get the go ahead goal and a few minutes later after multiple defensive lapses, missed marking assignments or a general lack of possession, the opponent come charging down the field on a counterattack, catch the defense sleeping and netting the tying goal or worse, the go ahead goal.

How is it possible we can see this as plain as the hair on the back of my hand, and yet the problem after 10 games of this repetitive motion, the ship not yet be righted?  Is it the coaching?  Is it the players lack of focus?  Whatever it is, it's time Kinnear and Co. do something about it.

The Dynamo had a chance to make a definitive statement to the league, and they blew it.  They showed the rest of the league by allowing Red Bulls the tying goal they, the Orange, are extremely vulnerable on the counter attack.  That, squarely, falls to the defense.  It starts not at the defensive line, though.  It starts in the midfield.

The midfield on counter attacks are leaving the defensive line high and dry.  They should be doing everything in their power to get back, barring their own injuries.  Instead I see guys trotting back to help if the play is not on their side.  I was taught, and still believe, you play until a whistle, and then you keep playing.  You don't trot, even in 80 or 90 degree Houston heat and 150% humidity, you just keep playing.  And if you can't, get yourself off the field, because you don't belong.

We can't hold possession if we're up a goal, we just can't.  That, too, falls to the midfield.  They have to play stronger, with resilience, and determination.  I see it from Brad, but once he's gone, then we're completely clueless how to hold a friggin' ball.  Turnovers are key.

But these are all basics, and this is what scares me the most.  As a team, on the whole, we are failing at fundamentals and basics.  Talent means nothing if you can't keep the ball from the other team.  Tally Hall could be the best goalkeeper on the face of the Earth, but if the other team gets 5 or 6 shots on target at him in a short span, he's vulnerable.  It's up to this team, the players not the coaches, to make an impact.

It's up to the players to stop settling for mediocre or second best.  If this team and these players truly want this Championship, then they better start showing it.  Right now, I'd rank them right around 6th or 7th overall in the entire league.  That is sad.  That is unacceptable for a team claiming to be a contender for a title.  So tell me, what would you change?  What moves would you make?  Who the hell sits out until they get their stuff together?

For me, I'm bringing in Dixon and moving Cameron back to CDM.  I'm sending Palmer to LB and moving Ashe back to the subs.  I'm putting Watson at RM, and I'm starting Koke and Bruin, maybe bringing in Weaver as a sub if the situation warrants it.  I'm going to bring Koke back just a little, still leaving him at Striker but finding a better more creative space for him.  I'm leaving Bruin up top, because Bruin can hold the ball and Koke can create with him there.  And most importantly, I'm going to leave Davis on the left side, but I'm going to demand he receive the ball far less.

When the opposition knows your strength and can focus on that, you must find another strength.  That strength for the Dynamo has been through the CAM position, and Geoff right now isn't sealing the deal.  He's been given long enough, and we all know he is stellar on defense.  Give him confidence again, and some time to get comfortable, and stop forcing a position onto him he just can't figure out.  It's destroying his psyche, and we all see it on the pitch.

It's time for changes, and I know you all agree.