Well, Wednesday was a thing.
There were some astute people here on the blog who threw out the term "trap game" in the days leading up to the Dynamo's draw 3-3. I agreed in my head but hoped in my heart that it wouldn't be the case. Instead it was a textbook trap game but unlike other trap games in sports history, at least it didn't become a complete disaster.
Thanks to some late match heroics and a ton of heart from the players, the Dynamo salvaged a point with two late Will Bruin goals and allowed everyone with orange in their heart to walk out of BBVA Compass Stadium feeling a bit better about the evening.
It could have been a lot worse. We could have lost our first ever match at the new stadium to a team that could end up being one of the worst in MLS history. Then again, if Toronto play like they did against us, they should drag themselves from the depths of the Eastern Conference standings and at least return some level of respectability.
Upon further review of their loss to Sporting KC over the weekend, it was clear the main difference between the two matches is that TFC was able to finish their chances against the Dynamo. They had some great opportunities against SKC, so the instant reaction that I felt at the defensive issues is at least slightly lessened by that fact. We caught TFC after a coaching change and on what looks like an upswing in form...though it still would have been embarrassing as hell to lose to them.
What we saw from the Dynamo is the kind of thing we've come to expect from this team and this franchise. Instead of just shutting things down and accepting defeat, they fought to the end and showed a ton of heart. Yeah it's a bit cliche and it's only sports, but we're a blog dedicated to covering a sports team so deal with it.
There's a reason fans were so bothered and upset at halftime and as the second half drew on. We're not used to seeing Houston get beat so bad. It happened last year when the Dynamo got hammered by Sporting KC but of course the team rebounded from that despite our initial panic. I think that roster at that juncture last season needed the loss, this group didn't need a similar loss and they roared back both because TFC is weak defensively and because this team has a ton of character.
Last season that character translated in to a late season run to the MLS Cup Final, we'll have to wait and see what happens this time around. The Dynamo still need to play better though, but the pieces are there and how far they do this season will come down to how well they put them together. I'm sure we'd be feeling a lot different had they not come back for the draw but they did, thanks in large part to team heart and of course the Dancing Bear.
I hope all Dynamo fans realize (and I think they do) that we're seeing the development of a real potential superstar forward right before out eyes. That's not something you get to see everyday, so we should definitely enjoy it.
Will Bruin was my man of the match not because of the two goals (those were nice) but because of the poise, determination and leadership he showed late. Bruin has been nothing short of outstanding so far this season for the Dynamo. He's already tallied eight goals and if he stays healthy, he could push for a 20-goal season.
What's also great about Bruin is we're getting to see a future star develop right before our eyes. We saw flashes of his talent last year and now that he's become the man up front, he's taken the opportunity and is running with it like crazy. Bruin has so much confidence at the moment, every time he touches the ball he believes that he can score or create a chance for his team to score...at least that how it appears to me.
Bruin's success is also a reminder of why Brian Ching is important to this team. Sure Ching isn't scoring goals, but neither is Bruin if the captain isn't around. The things Ching does off the ball are making it easier for Bruin to be successful. Also, don't think for a minute that it's coincidence the two goals came after Ching had entered the match.
Time to move on though and prepare for a tough match-up against the Montreal Impact at Saputo Stadium on Saturday. We'll have a question exchange with SBN's Impact blog posted soon along with a match preview in the morning tomorrow.