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The Differential: Dry Your Eyes

"Everything will be alright" - The Killers

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

Hey guys: so... that was terrible, but chins up!

Yes, the loss to FC Frisco was an unfortunate combination of a dubious red card, poor team response, and general badness. Fortunately, the season is still young. If the Houston Dynamo are known for one thing, it's building throughout the season.

This series of posts, as I've said every single week, is focused on what is going wrong, and how we can improve in our search for trophies.

The Dynamo did me plenty of favors this week in the "going wrong" department. That is unfortunate.

1. Wreck-it-Horst

David Horst getting a red card isn't exactly surprising, just look at his nickname. But Horst getting a red card in the manner he did against FCD was... odd. The foul seemed initially closer to a yellow card, and occurred seemingly out of nowhere.

Simon Borg's early week post analyzing dubious fouls and goals focused specifically on this moment, and compared it - appropriately - to the red card given to Jamison Olave in the Eastern Conference Semi-final leg 1 last year.

Is this comparison valid? Partially. They occurred in a similar moment, with the attackers racing down the sideline, and involved a scissoring tackle after missing out on the ball. I would temper Borg's "OF COURSE this was a red card!" gusto by saying the level, and angle, of the challenges were different. Olave hit the attacker at the knee from behind, while Horst caught the Frisconian at the ankle at a right angle.

Was it a red card? I think Horst gave the "ref" reason enough to give it, even if it wasn't the right call.

These red cards will happen, especially with a powerful defender like Horst. Hopefully, he dials back the aggression in the open field like with what happened this week, while still maintaining his excellence in face-to-face defending.

2. Next Man Up

I've had to say "next man up" too often this season. This week we will have to rebound from two consecutive losses without our up-and-coming defender Horst. It seems this is the rookie A.J. Cochrane's big moment. The team seems 100% behind him, and it's exciting to see a rookie having an instant opportunity. Especially after the successes seen from Will Bruin and Warren Creavalle recently as rookies.

Having options in the back, especially with Jermaine Taylor's history of injuries, is a big plus as we get deeper into the season. And what better team to introduce Cochrane into the starting lineup than against New England, the trainwreck of the early 2014 season.

3. Set Piece Excellence

This reminds me of the good ol' days, right? Two weeks, two straight Brad Davis to Ricado Clark goals. Continuing this trend will be important to future successes, but we would do well to not waste these positive moments in losses. Duh.

4-5. Bruin and Barnes

Perhaps the two most important players, and two most labile, are our two strikers. Giles Barnes has had moments of brilliance, but has failed to find the net. Bruin started brightly, but has faded in the past two weeks.

As I said above, the match against New England is a perfect chance to build some good habits.

Dry your eyes, Dynamo fans. Everything is going to be alright.