There's some serious head scratching and second guessing going on among Dynamo supporters after yesterday's pathetic performance against the Philadelphia Union. You can accept a loss when your team just gets beat, you can't accept a loss when your team doesn't even bother to show up.
I asked Dynamo fans on Twitter right after the loss to give me a single word to describe it. Here's what they said:
Timid. Overconfident. Unbelievable. Avoidable. Pathetic. Gutwrenching. Regrettable. Uninspiring. Sucks. Doopy. Beer.
Beer is more like the needed element to get over this, but the rest of the responses are pretty clear. This sucked. This was a bad loss, an avoidable loss, a pathetic performance that should not happen...but it did.
Blame the referees all you want but the fact remains the Dynamo did not show up and they did not play well. Andre Hainault gifted the Union a penalty and as far as the offside third goal, shit happens and quite honestly, they should never have been in that position anyway. At this point, we don't need or want excuses, we want a better performance. The team knows they blew it, but there is still time to recover.
Saturday's match against the New England Revolution is going to tell us a lot about this team, but I can't help but be concerned about an unsettling trend that this team has had all season.
I did a litlte research based on a theory I cooked up during the final minutes of the game. The 2012 Dynamo have been a frustrating team because they've gotten outstanding results against good teams but seem to struggle against teams below them in the standings. At least that was my initial perception, so I decided to do a little investigating and I broke down the team's results against teams currently in a playoff position and those outside the playoffs (or already eliminated).
In 2012 the Dynamo have 7 wins, 4 draws and 6 losses against playoff teams. Against non-playoff teams? 5-6-2.
Sure they've suffered more losses against playoff teams and only loss twice against non-playoff teams, but that's not what matters. Look at the draws. SIX DRAWS against non-playoff teams: Crew (twice), New England, Toronto (twice), Portland. Six points from a possible 18 and only the Crew are still in the playoff hunt. That's no good enough and that's why the Dynamo are in fifth place, hanging on for their lives.
For me, this shows a habit that's haunted this team all season. Playing to the level of their opponent. Teams do it all the time and it's usually talented teams like the Dynamo that do it the most. That's why is so damn frustrating, this team is capable of beating the best teams in the league, but regularly struggles to get results against the worst teams in the league.
The Dynamo may yet survive this and make the playoffs. Hell, they might go another run and end up in the MLS Cup Final again, but I'm not betting on it. Why? I don't trust this team to change their ways. If they do, the sky's the limit, if not, they'll squeak in to the playoffs or end up on the outside looking in for the second time in three years.
The rest of the season looks like this: Revs, Impact, Union, at Rapids. Four non-playoff teams who have all either beaten and/or drawn against the Dynamo this year. Three of the four games are at home, a huge advantage since this team plays better at home, but four of those bad draws came at home.
Lots to think about in the next week.