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Player Ratings: Dynamo vs New York Red Bulls, Second Leg

The Houston Dynamo defeated the New York Red Bulls in the 2nd leg of the conference semi-finals 2-1. Stout defensive play - especially the goalkeeping - great play from the midfield, and great contributions from the substitutes highlight this match.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:

Tally Hall, MotM, (8) - Tally Hall is the reason that the Dynamo had an uphill climb against a NY team looking for its first playoff win in Red Bull Arena. Hall gifted Bradley Wright-Phillips a goal after he failed to hold on to the ball. After that, his teammates picked him up and he turned it up. No cross was out of reach, and no shot escaped him and found its way into the goal. The closest the ball came to finding the net was a Henry header that hit the crossbar (thank you, crossbar). Hall kept the Dynamo alive long enough to score late and move onto the Conference final.

Kofi Sarkodie (5.5) - Sarkodie did well to handle a lot of the pressure that NY sent, and was very good at pushing the ball up to Boniek Garcia. He also had another shot that was similar to his one in the first leg of the series in Houston that went up and over. Still, it's good to see him confident about taking the shot. The big question for Sarkodie moving into the next stage of the playoffs is whether or not he'll line up in his usual RB position, or fill in at LB for the suspended Corey Ashe.

Eric Brunner (5) - Brunner had a tough night and seemed to be locked in a physical battle with nearly every opponent around him. He looked a bit slower than usual and his passing wasn't quite where it should be at, but he did an excellent job in forcing difficult shots and winning balls in the air.

Bobby Boswell (6) - Boswell led the defensive backline and helped keep it together, as NY had plenty of opportunities on goal. Due to outstanding goal keeping and a tough defense that was quick to dispossess and force tough shots and crosses, the defense only allowed one goal which they can't be faulted for.

Corey Ashe (5.5) - One of the big issues Glenn Davis talked about before this match was the fiery Corey Ashe - how he helped get Dominic Kinnear suspended, and how he needs to learn how to keep a cooler head. Well, it seemed he was onto something, as Ashe received his 2nd yellow card of the series. Because of this, the Dynamo will be without another one of their starting defenders, which is a big deal.

Warren Creavalle (6) - Creavalle played well and though he did turn the ball over a bit, he was very good at covering on the defensive end. However, looking ahead, a number of us believe for the first leg against KC, he would be best suited in a RB role with Sarkodie filling in at LB. I actually believed Creavalle to be the better RB when there was competition for the role, but Sarkodie has won me over. Creavalle's biggest asset with this team is his versatility and his ability to play those different positions quite well. Expect Creavalle to get the start somewhere on the field.

Ricardo Clark (7) - Ricardo Clark was again getting it done for the Dynamo on both ends of the field. Clark played his traditional box-to-box role and made the right challenges for the ball, passed well, and created a few chances for the Dynamo.

Boniek Garcia (7) - Boniek is just so fun to watch in these games and you can tell he's enjoying it. He's intercepting balls, dribbling through two or three defenders, and either taking a shot or moving it into a good area. He'll need to be the terror that he is (for other teams of course) against Sporting Kansas City.

Brad Davis (7.5) - Davis scored his first playoff goal since 2007, tying it up for the Dynamo in a game which would not have another goal until extra time (thank you Mr. Cummings). Davis's goal was beautiful. Sure, it was a bad pass out of the back that he stole, but he saw it and knew it was coming. Then he sent Robles the wrong way and got the easy goal.

Giles Barnes (5)
- Barnes was largely absent in this game. He was active earlier, but both he and Bruin didn't track back enough into the midfield to try and get the ball themselves. NY dominated possession, so it was tough to get it to the forwards in general (which is why forwards need to become more involved defensively, something both of ours rarely were). Barnes did have a nifty pass to Omar Cummings which saw Cummings showcase his speed and dribbling abilities.

Will Bruin (5) - Both starting forwards combined for 0 shots. You read that right, 0! Both rarely found themselves over the ball and really didn't make an impact. Fatigue has to be part of the reason why, but it's clear that they weren't up to the challenge and once again things got better for the Dynamo on the offensive end as soon as our forwards were changed out.

The Subs:

Omar Cummings (7)
-Cummings is finding his shot and form exactly the right moment. He has scored two big goals in two games, providing the spark which has sent us to the Eastern Conference final. Cummings looked a bit timid at first and his touch wasn't what he wanted it to be, but he soon got over that and began making runs at the defense. I believe he has earned a starting spot with those big goals.

Andrew Driver (6.5) - Driver came on and immediately became a difference maker. He was creating chances, taking shots, and really spread the Dynamo out which helped them possess a bit more.

Cam Weaver (6.5) - Weaver's biggest contribution was his header across the mouth of the goal which landed right at Omar Cummings feet. Weaver also nearly scored himself, which would have cushioned the Dynamo lead, but Robles made an excellent save on the attempt.

Coach Dominic Kinnear (6.5)
- Kinnear did what Kinnear does best: find ways to win in the playoffs. The Dynamo were content on allowing NY to gas themselves through most of the game, and then the Dynamo went on the attack. I'm not sure that this was the plan, but hey, it worked. There are still a few issues that need to be resolved - such as possessing better, limiting defensive mistakes, and (the biggest to me) finding ways to score. The Dynamo found the net in a convincing way against Montreal, but against NY it took them up until the end of the game to score. Maybe Cummings has earned that starting spot right? Nudge, nudge.