5 quick observations about this one:
1) New York 5 man midfield clogged our offense up for most of the game.
2) When the offense was going, it lacked the final touch. All 5 of Luis Robles's saves were pretty easy for him to grab.
3) Tactical adjustments were effective, but a little late.
4) The defense held its own against a very motivated NY side which notched 20 shots, but only 5 were on target due to the defense forcing tough shots.
5) Tyler Deric is up for his third consecutive save of the week nomination.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tyler Deric, MotM, (8.5) - Deric put together arguably his best performance in goal for the Dynamo. He only recorded 4 official saves, but it felt like a lot more. Deric was confident and challenged Bradley Wright-Phillips twice in 1v1 opportunities and prevented the MLS scoring leader from extending his tally each time. The defense had its hands full the entire match and while the crossbar provided a bit of assistance, Deric more than did his fair share to keep the Dynamo in the game.
Kofi Sarkodie (5.5) - Sarkodie vastly improved his passing accuracy compared to his last game and he was able to find space in the offense, especially when the Dynamo took off Omar Cummings. Although there is plenty of blame to be spread around for the game's only goal, Sarkodie really should've marked Thierry Henry, but it looked like he was caught ball watching a bit.
David Horst (6.5) - For most of the game, Horst was the Dynamo player that was the one to get the dangerous ball out of our 18 yard box. Horst continues to show that he can get into attackers' heads with his physical defending exemplified by Henry's two handed shove in the first half of the game. Horst stayed down after accidently being kicked in the head by Henry, but continued to play without any deleterious effects.
A.J. Cochran (6.5) - Cochran showed up all over the Dynamo half of the field and made crucial stops. Cochran was able to block 4 shots and intercepted passes in the defensive third of the field. Another aspect of Cochran's game that is developing is how well he transitions the ball from the back.
DaMarcus Beasley (6) - Beasley often played higher up the pitch to jump start an at times stagnant offense. Beasley made seamless passes and was able to make a few good tackles in a higher up position. However, he was a bit slow to get back and defend on occasion which includes the goal. Beasley should've been covering Lloyd Sam who delivered the ball in which led to the goal that won the Red Bulls the game. Beasley was able to provide a bit of spark late in the game as he took on the NY defense, but his effort on goal wasn't enough.
Luis Garrido (7) - Garrido struggled more than he has in other games and a lot of that had to do with the man advantage the Red Bulls played in midfield. Despite the odds against the midfield for much of the game, Garrido was still able to make 5 tackles and recover the ball all over the central midfield. Garrido passed the ball extremely accurately and even had a couple of tries at goal.
Ricardo Clark (6) - Clark wasn't able to move into the offense as much with NY making it difficult to transition the ball through the central midfield. Defensively, Clark proved to be tough for NY to deal with as he recorded 4 tackles of his own and made big interceptions.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (6.5) - Boniek was the biggest creator the Dynamo offense had. Boniek was responsible for several key passes that made the Dynamo offense briefly glimmer on a tough night for the forwards.
Brad Davis (6.5) - Davis passed the ball with his usual precision and was able to generate more than a few good opportunities for the offense. Davis's service over the ball was still strong, but NY was quick to take away the chances for his intended targets.
Giles Barnes (5.5) - Barnes had a tough time getting service and traversing through a defense and midfield that held its own pretty well. When Barnes did make a run he was usually met with strong defensive efforts by players like Dax McCarty. Barnes was able to try his luck on goal, but only one of his four shots was on target which was easily saved by goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Omar Cummings (4) - Cummings was easily the most affected player by New York's 5 man midfield. Cummings simply didn't have the space he needed to be effective and it showed in his passing and his runs. It wasn't necessarily that Cummings put in a poor effort, but that the match ups in midfield and defensively just worked against him.
Andrew Driver (6.5) - Driver coming onto the field represented a huge shift in the game for the Dynamo. Even though the Dynamo replaced a forward with a midfielder, the Dynamo were able to take control of the midfield and finally create more dangerous opportunities. Driver opened up space for Boniek to operate centrally and was able to make several good runs down the line.
Jermaine Taylor (5) - In Taylor's first appearance since his concussion, he came on for Ricardo Clark in a somewhat confusing tactical move, but Taylor provided room for DaMarcus Beasley and Kofi Sarkodie to advance further up the field. Taylor played all over though which showed the move was only somewhat effective and the defensive shape the team wanted really didn't take form when Taylor came on the pitch.
Alexander Lopez (N/A) - Even though Alex was able to play for 10 minutes, he didn't see a lot of action over the ball. He was able to connect on a few good passes, but there wasn't really enough of a showing for a fair grade.
Coach Dominic Kinnear (6) - This was a huge game for the Dynamo and for most of the game, the Dynamo sat back and withstood dangerous opportunities by the New York Red Bulls. The defense held its own for most of the game, but an unmarked Thierry Henry (which should never be allowed) found an opening to score. Tactically, Dom made some very clever moves that allowed the Dynamo to focus on controlling the midfield to create opportunities rather than leaning on forwards to create their own chances. However, it may have been too little too late as the Dynamo were already down and still allowing opportunities to come their way. If this weren't such a critical game, it would've been a very good attempt to get points on the road, but that wasn't the case and points were needed.