5 quick observations about this one:
1) Defensive positioning was off due to poor communication. After each goal was scored the Dynamo pushed up the field even more which allowed for more effective DC counters.
2) The Dynamo relied too often on a long ball over the top which rarely found its way to an orange jersey.
3) Bill Hamid made several key saves that kept the Dynamo from scoring. The defense in front of him forced tough shots, but Hamid ultimately was the difference in the Dynamo not scoring a few more.
4) This game really highlights off-season needs and that must start with defensive players, specifically center backs.
5) Allowing DC to win in Houston for the first time ever felt just as bad, if not worse, than being knocked out of playoff picture
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tyler Deric (7) - It's hard to fault Deric on any of the goals scored against the Dynamo when the defense in front of him looked fairly lax. Deric recorded 7 saves, 1 more than his incredible performance in Toronto, but it wasn't enough for the desperate Dynamo.
Kofi Sarkodie (5.5) - On the first goal, Sarkodie correctly followed his man and protected the goal after Deric's initial save, but nobody covered the area that he left which opened up the scoring for D.C. Sarkodie played a lot of over the top long balls which had mixed results.
David Horst (5) - Horst or Servando Carrasco should've covered Taylor Kemp on the first goal. No way should he have so much space to take a shot inside the 18 yard box. Horst moved the ball pretty well out of the box and was very active in the back clearing the ball. Still, as the Dynamo tried to push up the field, poor positioning allowed D.C. to counter and pick apart the defense.
Eric Brunner (4) - Brunner earned the starting nod following AJ Cochran's suspension against Toronto FC. Brunner made several necessary clearances, but poor communication led to positioning errors and giveaways in the midfield.
DaMarcus Beasley (N/A) - Only had a few touches on the ball before being subbed out due to a minor hamstring injury.
Servando Carrasco (6) - Carrasco's passing was hit and miss. One of Carrasco's strengths is his short passes, but his long balls often didn't connect with other Dynamo players. Defensively, Carrasco contributed to some strong tackles and blocked efforts, though he could've covered Sarkodie's position to deny Taylor Kemp.
Ricardo Clark (7) - Clark showed the urgency the Dynamo needed to exhibit on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Clark let shots fly including one that rocketed off the corner of the crossbar. Clark was also a very accurate passer only giving up the ball on poor long balls. Defensively, Clark showcased his tackling prowess all over the field as well as his ability to recover the ball in dangerous positions.
Brad Davis (6.5) - In the 4-3-3 formation, Davis played in the central role, but higher up than the other midfielders, Carrasco and Clark. Davis showed the same level of determination as Clark, but with less success. Davis kept the ball too long at his feet at times as he tried to find a shot, but was closed down by the D.C. defense. I have to note that on the second goal, Davis turned on the jets and was the first and only player back enough to threaten Fabian Espindola on the ball other than goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
Andrew Driver (6) - Driver provided a few of the closest opportunities for the Dynamo to score as he passed the ball extremely well and created great chances for his teammates. However, Driver passed the ball poorly from the back and didn't provide much help defensively.
Giles Barnes, MotM, (7) - Bill Hamid denied Barnes a handful of times which could've been the difference in this game. His penalty kick was coolly taken and sent Hamid the wrong way to put the Dynamo within 1 goal of the game. Barnes provided several dangerous runs, but his passing in this game could use some fine tuning.
Omar Cummings (5) - Cummings didn't have a single shot in this one, and he had a great opportunity to open up the scoring, but decided to pass it into the D.C. back line. At least he showed he can go 90 minutes.
Corey Ashe (5) - Ashe actually passed the ball better up the field than he did from the back due to poor long passes (there's a theme here). Ashe made several interceptions and key clearances after being subbed into the game early after DaMarcus Beasley was forced out.
Alexander Lopez (6.5) - Came on for Servando Carrasco shortly after DCU scored its second goal of the game in order to provide more offensive spark. Alex passed the ball extremely well only giving up one poor pass and was able to find room to take a couple of shots himself.
Will Bruin (6) - Will Bruin made his return to the Dynamo after missing the previous 6 games with a nagging foot injury. Less than a minute after Bruin came on the pitch, he had already made a run and forced a save by Hamid. Bruin's passing still needs work, but in the short amount of time he was on the pitch he was able to create some dangerous passes and threaten the goal.
Coach Dominic Kinnear (6) - This was a tough game and had a D.C. win stamped all over it from the start. The Dynamo were missing two key midfield players, their new starting center back, and their leading goal scorer was not fit enough to start while DC, the team at the top of the Eastern Conference, was gaining players back from injury. The Dynamo were able to create chances on offense, and really could have won the game had D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid not come up huge several times, but the real struggle for the Dynamo was the defense. Eric Brunner and David Horst were rarely on the same page which led to poor positioning and helped DC break down the defense. As DC began to find the net, the Dynamo were forced to throw players up the field more often which led to easier countering opportunities for DC.
In the end, the game stings both because it was the game to see the Dynamo out of the playoff picture and it was the first time DC has ever won in Houston. The Dynamo had their chances to score, but they were either denied by Hamid or lacked a strong final touch all the while the defense looked unorganized. The reasons behind the struggles offensively and defensively in this game mirror the same reasons why the Dynamo have struggled throughout the year: injuries and call-ups.