As we all know, the Houston Dynamo defeated Toronto FC 2-0 Saturday night at BMO Field, to notch the Orange's fourth win in a row and pull them within a point of New York Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference. The highlights above tell the tale, but also put on display both good and point points to take from the win. Here's a quick rundown of both.
Among the good, in order to me:
1. The Second Goal: Witness the work in the middle of the field that led to Brian Ching's strike. It all begins when Brian Ching sends a ball backwards to Brad Davis near the center circle. Davis, not missing a beat, chests it down and then passes sideways to Boniek Garcia and starts his run. Boniek does not hesitate and slides a pretty, pretty ball forward into space for the onrushing Davis. Brad, like Boniek, one touches it sideways and at an oblique angle to a waiting Ching. Eddie Robinson sums it up nicely, but this example of team play is a huge, huge reason why the Orange are where they are at this point. That is tough to stop. Here it is again:
2. Just wide. Boniek Garcia's near miss in the beginning of the second half is an excellent example of just why this is already the best foreign signing in team history. Under pressure, and not even picking up his head, Boniek has his man completely bamboozled as to what he's going to do. The attempt at a slot pass off the outside of his right foot comes right back to him and after a couple of touches, he left foots a curler towards goal. Note how he did not even look up. I once had a basketball coach tell me that you don't have to look at the basket to know where it is. Just look at the lines on the floor or any other marker. The basket does not move and is always in the same place relative to those markers. This is what creates court awareness in basketball and it's what Boniek is using to create pitch awareness. He knew where he was on that field, and thus knew where the goal was. He did not have to look up to see the net. If that curler had gone in, I'd be just now on Monday picking my jaw off the floor.
3. The first goal. What a great job by Bobby Boswell on that piece to flick the ball to the far post. Boswell is playing the best he has in some time, and really stepped it up this game with Jermaine Taylor absent. And, someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that is the first goal Calen Carr has scored with his head since he came back from the concussion. Also, look after the goal, where Logan Emory does the Bastian Schweinsteiger and just doubles over in disbelief. Then Milos Kocic, like Manuel Neuer did with Schweiny in the Champions League final, just tells him to get up. Nothing like seeing your opponents completely dispirited. Let's just see that again.
And as for the bad. Not to be a mopey Martek after the Dynamo finally won in Canada, but can Macoumba Kandji learn to control the ball please? Witness his attempt early on in this game in the third minute (1:05 or so on the highlight reel). His final touch is way too hard in space and Richard Eckersley has no problem dispossessing him. A softer touch and Kandji could have gotten off the shot he should have taken. How many times have we seen this from Kandji? He works hard and gets in good positions, but he all too often gets caught with the ball in between his feet or ruins his first or final touches.
And the next time he wins a ball in the air in a crowd will be the first time. He is 6-feet, 4-inches tall with legs like a gazelle. How does he have so few hops? When you go up for a header, you have got to WANT it, and Kandji all too often shrinks from that contact. Come on Mac! Get in there!
Two other hmmms. Jermaine Taylor missing the game for "personal reasons" in Jamaica. Anyone have any idea what this is about? Hope all is well with Taylor's family. And Will Bruin missing the game due to a bruised calf. Not liking that at all.
And finally, what this is all about:
Dynamo are way ahead of 2011 pace. After 22 games in 2011, they were 6-7-9, 27 points. Now 10-5-7, 37 pts.— Jose de Jesus Ortiz (@OrtizKicks) July 30, 2012
(Ortiz also tweeted that Dax McCarty will miss Friday's game between the Orange and NYRB on accumulation after drawing a yellow this weekend. Since McCarty is a known Dynamo-killer, I am over the moon at this news.) To further Ortiz' point, a year ago today, Dynamo beat the Seattle Sounders comprehensively 3-1 at Robertson Stadium. Since then, in MLS play both in playoffs and regular season, the team has gone 20-8-11, netting in effect 71 points out of a possible 117, good for a 1.65 points per game average. That, my friends, is called getting it done.