Hmm. So I'm tasked with writing up a post-match recap of this match, and I'm trying to figure out where to begin. On the one hand, you have to hand it to Vancouver, they executed on the counter attack and held their own defensively for a vast majority of the game. The Dynamo broke them down repeatedly, but could only manage to get it in the net one time. That goal for the Dynamo came pretty late as it was, yet still seemed like it could turn the game around. It did, just the other direction. Read on for my breakdown after the jump.
My main observations are how harsh it is for any team, MLS or otherwise, to deal with three defensive starters (Hainault - Canada, Cameron - US, Taylor - Jamaica) and try to find a way to maintain their defensive solidity. It showed with this game how much MLS needs to really give some open time for teams when dealing with International Call-Ups. Defensive mistakes really, more than anything, were the difference. First there was the early goal by Darren Mattocks of the Whitecaps. He received a beautiful cross and was practically unmarked. Lazy marking equals goals against.
But really, even then we showed we weren't going to go down without a fight. We pressed and we pushed, but the theme of the Dynamo for the last couple of seasons continued with this game. We lacked the ability to put the ball between the posts, under the crossbar, and into the net. We came close, a couple even requiring good saves from veteran keeper Joe Cannon. Still, though, we didn't get it done offensively.
We had to know coming in it would be tough to compete if we couldn't score. I knew Vancouver had the firepower to make it tough, and the pace to kill us if we weren't careful and they did just that. We paid, and paid dearly, for repeated mistakes by rookies and veterans, and for lacking the proper communication all around.
Give credit to Vancouver, though. They played pretty well, even if we did hold more possession. They made their shots on goal, and we missed far too many of ours. Even when we did manage to put together some pretty runs in play, we couldn't find the final touch. I'm going to give grades for this game, just for the hell of it.
Brian Ching - C -- He tried, but just couldn't get anything going. There weren't enough set pieces for him to utilize his air dominance, and Demerit held him in check for a vast majority of the game. He had a highlight reel shot, if it wasn't for Joe Cannon being right where he needed to be.
Will Bruin - B- -- He tried to assert himself multiple times, and he had a moment late in the game which showed his on the ball brilliance when he decides he wants to slip through the defense toward the goal. It was just not enough, and on his chances, he didn't convert.
Brad Davis - C+ -- Where the hell was Davis today? Was he just that locked down by Vancouver defenders? No, Vancouver overloaded to his side whenever he received the ball, and he couldn't beat them all by himself. His set piece service wasn't perfect, but it certainly wasn't poor. Still, when you are the main man on the pitch, you have to find ways to insert yourself more.
Luiz Camargo - D- -- There was a point in the early part of the second half where I began to wonder if Camargo was even starting. He wasn't involved, and what little possession he did get was sent back to a Dynamo Defender to distribute wide. He didn't want to force the issue, and it showed.
Calen Carr - C- -- He was involved, and he had a couple of moments of brilliance. Still, his service from the right was worthless on multiple occasions. If we're going to start Carr at RM, then he better as hell learn to cross.
Adam Moffat - D- -- He and Camargo never really got in sync. Worse yet, Moffatt gave the ball up on multiple occasions. He also looked out of sorts repeatedly. Get your head in the game, please. We NEED you to play better.
Corey Ashe - C- -- Defensively, Ashe was exposed a couple of times on the left. Whether he was beaten one v one, or beaten over the top. He tried to push up, but was worthless much like Carr. His service in, what little there was, worthless as well. In the end, once International Call-Ups are done, he'd better not be starting out left.
Nathan Sturgis - C- -- He was invisible for a vast portion of the game, though for a central defender that isn't surprising. He doesn't have the size or physical dominance to be a central defender against most MLS forwards. Worse yet, he much like Boz does not possess a ton of pace to recover quickly.
Bobby Boswell - D- -- I'm going to be harsh on Boswell. If he's going to start when Taylor, Cameron, and Hainault are out, it is one HIM to solidify the backline. He has to be the leader back there and constantly communicate in a way the rookies can handle. Two of the goals were partially on Boswell. One of them, he held the man onsides, the other he just didn't do enough to prevent the ball into the box. Gotta do better, Boz.
Warren Creavalle - A- -- While he did give up the second goal, and was only partially to blame for the first, he showed he has pace, he can recover, and better yet he has the ability to cross decently into the box on the right. I think he could start with the right guys next to him where he isn't having to be the only guy constantly streaming back to protect the slower inside backs. He showed he can start at the MLS level, and could be on the level of a Michael Chabala, but I doubt he'll ever be too much more than that.
Tally Hall - C -- He was average at best. He allowed a goal which really he should've had a better line on and been able to prevent in it's entirety. He also didn't do enough to command his backline, helping Boswell control their shape and form and level. Still, he was brilliant in various moments and on various shots, one of which was an absolute laser into the box. Granted, on that shot, Hall didn't have to move as it was right at him, but still. Reaction was great.
Colin Clark - D -- He's about as useful as Corey Ashe on the left. They both play defense average at best, and horrifically at worst. They both can't get their service into the box efficiently, or in a manner which the forwards can do anything with. They both can't beat their defenders on a consistent basis. He's becoming a liability as a sub at LM. Too much of a drop off from Davis to Clark right now.
Mac Kandji - A+ -- Mac came on and was a force to be reckoned with. He wasn't perfect, but I'll be damned if he didn't make a statement with the Dynamo's only goal of the match. He was close on a second on a few minutes later, too. He was involved, and constantly moving off the ball. He made terrific runs. Now, he just needs Dom to start him. Chinger definitely needs a mental break.
Brian Ownby - NA -- I really can't grade him for the short bit he was on the field. Offensively, he rarely had the ball, and when he did he had not support. Defensively, he made a rookie mistake (he's a freakin' rookie who has NEVER played a MLS minute). He got his first MLS minutes, and I believe with more time, he'll prove he deserves more time as a sub. Has definite potential. Reminds me a Mullan out there.
That's my grades. I could grade the ref, but it wouldn't be pretty. I was not thrilled with his style, even though it wasn't as bad as other officials MLS throws out on the pitch. He at least tended toward letting play continue, instead of constantly blowing his damn whistle. Still, he missed a lot of calls both ways, and allowed players to get more frustrated than they needed to. Also, he fell for quite a few Vancouver flops, so I knock him for that.
All in all, we shouldn't be too overly worried by this match defensively. We're running without THREE of our FOUR defensive starters. We're running almost our entire starting offense, though, minus one Oscar Boniek-Garcia, and we did not look all that special. In other words, we should have seen this one coming.