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Player Ratings: Dynamo vs SKC, Leg 2

The Dynamo were defeated in the Eastern Conference Final against Sporting Kansas City. Despite going up a goal in the 3rd minute thanks to Boniek, SKC rallied and are on their way to the MLS Cup. Defensive miscues and a lack of control in the midfield stand out in this one.

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Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:

Tally Hall (5) - Hall really should have commanded his backline better in the hostile environment that is Sporting Park. He had a few very good close grabs and dives that kept SKC from adding to their total, but a lot of that was their forwards' inability to find the net with composure - probably due to the cold. Hall probably could have saved the second goal, and nearly gave up one when he dropped a cross that found its way right to a certain bald Kansas City player.

Kofi Sarkodie (5.5) - Sarkodie did his best to move up the pitch and help push the ball towards Boniek, Barnes, and Weaver and was able to send in a dangerous cross here and there. His marking was pretty good, but Sarkodie could not deal with Benny Feilhaber who really worked Sarkodie and the central midfield.

Eric Brunner (4) - Brunner had a tough time dealing with the speed of his opponents, most likely because of the cold - which was fortunate because most of the shots and dribbling inside were sloppy by SKC, which allowed Brunner to pick up the pieces (Average White Band anyone?). That being said, Brunner did a so-so job and was solid at clearing the ball away, but his passing and positioning allowed KC to come back at the Dynamo again and again.

Bobby Boswell (3) - Boswell had a tough time. As I mentioned, the cold was an issue for everyone. It was especially effective in slowing Boswell - a player not known for his speed. Boswell made a few great saves, but his gaffes more than outweigh those. He gifted Sporting Kansas City their first goal, and repeatedly got burned by forwards pushing up the ball. Boswell wasn't the reason we lost the game - I believe that was more due to Clark's absence - but he made it really tough to win it.

Corey Ashe (6.5) - Corey Ashe was easily the best defender, in my opinion. He covered tons of ground on both sides of the ball, and made it really tough for CJ Sapong to get many touches. His contributions to the offensive side of the ball included a few great crosses and a spinning, curving ball that nearly saw the Dynamo equalize the game in the dying minutes of the match.

Warren Creavalle (5) - Creavalle was the only central midfielder, as an injury kept Ricardo Clark off the field and head coach Dominic Kinnear opted for a 4-3-3. Creavalle's lack of vision without the aid of Clark was very apparent and many of the counter attacks went straight through him. The battle of the midfield - which allowed SKC so much offensive build up was lost through Creavalle. He didn't do a terrible job by any means, but Clark's presence is a difference maker and without it Creavalle couldn't do everything on his own.

Brad Davis (6.5) - Davis had a lackluster first half (though he did notch an assist to Boniek on our goal), and much of his work came from the defensive side of the ball - which is not his strongest side of play. When the offense became more anxious about the outcome, however, the passes looked more accurate, and his presence in the offense looked more authoritative.

Giles Barnes (5) - Barnes (to me) did not have a very good game. Not because of what he did do, but rather what he didn't do. He really didn't show up and push the offense with his creative passing. In fact, it was his "pass" that deflected off of Zusi and led to the first goal. Yes, we can (and should) blame Boswell for his part, but that chance started with Barnes. He was in an uncharacteristic RM role, and he really wasn't very noticeable in it.

Andrew Driver (6) - Driver spread the field and had a few great runs, especially in the early parts of the match, but as SKC learned to control the midfield, they really found a way to neutralize Driver's runs. That being said, when he did see the ball, he was pretty threatening - including the run that led to the goal.

Oscar Boniek Garcia, MotM, (7.5) - Boniek was once again the man and the life of the offense. Not only did he get a goal, but he was taking on two or three defenders at once with his beautiful touches despite the frozen feet he and everyone must've had. Before the match, everyone was saying Boniek is and should be considered a "marked man". Well he was, but it really didn't seem to slow Boniek too often.

Cam Weaver (6) - I'll get flak for this like I always do, but I thought Weaver played a solid game. Yes, he missed a shot that some consider a piece of cake (or maybe pie...I'm fairly hungry), but I see it a little differently. Take away that one missed shot, and you'll find he did a lot of things right - things that make me believe he put in a stronger performance than what Bruin would have put in. Weaver was very good at holding the ball up and involving the midfield in the attack, he's an underrated passer (we actually saw a Weaver back heel pass...WHAT?!), and won a lot of balls in the air. He did all this while taking an absolute beating by the SKC defense that should have drawn more fouls in my opinion. A solid outing marred by the ball he sent to the stands.

The Subs:

Omar Cummings (5.5)
- Cummings came on for Andrew Driver in the 70th minute, looked to play the role of Mr. Clutch again, but alas, that never came to be. Cummings really didn't see too much of the ball, but he was able to make a few good runs and link up well with Weaver.

Servando Carrasco (5.5) - Carrasco came on for Warren Creavalle in the 75th minute and helped settle the midfield down to an extent. Carrasco still had a tough time managing the midfield the way Clark does, but he seemed to have an easier go at it than Creavalle.

Jason Johnson (5) - Jason Johnson came on for Cam Weaver in the 82nd minute as the Dynamo loaded the top with speed, but the closest JJ came to the back of the net was a last minute header that sailed far and wide.

Coach Dominic Kinnear (6)
- It's a tough task to go into someone else's stadium and expect a win in the conference final - something that Kinnear has become quite good at lately. It's an even tougher task when three players out of your starting lineup are out injured. Kinnear nearly worked his magic again, but the absence of Ricardo Clark in the midfield cannot be understated. The Dynamo won't be returning to the MLS Cup for a third year in a row, but they can still hold their heads up high with how they turned their luck around in the playoffs. After all, there's always next year to win the MLS Cup.