5 quick observations about this one:
1) Davis's creativity and accuracy with the ball in the midfield really opens possibilities up for the Dynamo.
2) Defense got caught flat footed/napping again.
3) The 4-3-3 has room for improvement, but it looked pretty impressive.
4) Failure to convert chances still a theme this year.
5) Disappointing result, but still plenty to be happy about.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tally Hall (6) - Hall was able to record 3 saves, something I had to look up because I couldn't remember if he had been tested at all. Aside from the goal, which was due to poor communication between Taylor and Horst (we can throw a few more names if you include the pass before) covering Fernandez, Hall wasn't really tested, and I can't blame him for the goal.
Kofi Sarkodie (6.5) - Sarkodie finally had some space to move up the field and he was often found involved in the attack. He also nearly cleaned up a save that Timbers keeper Donovan Ricketts couldn't hold onto after a Brad Davis shot.
Jermaine Taylor (5) - Taylor looked mad out there for stretches of the game. He committed a few silly fouls and poor challenges, one of which led to a yellow card, but overall the central defense didn't have a lot of work to do. Taylor's positioning did improve even if some of his challenges took a step backwards.
David Horst (5.5) - As I mentioned above, the central defense didn't see too much of the ball, so this rating may seem a bit harsh for Horst. However, it did look like Fernandez was his man that he wasn't marking or he at the very least gave him some space to operate in on the play that Portland scored on.
Corey Ashe (6.5) - Like Sarkodie, Ashe was very involved in pushing up the field and getting involved on offense. Ashe is even credited with the 2nd assist on our lone goal, also known as the pass leading up to the pass that led to a goal.
Warren Creavalle (5.5) - While Creavalle didn't completely make up for his performance against New York, what's clear is his comfort level in central midfield is now much higher than what was his natural position: RB. Creavalle was partly responsible for falling asleep on the goal, but he was very good at moving the ball with accuracy.
Brad Davis, MotM, (7.5) - While we all wanted to see the Dynamo win the game against Portland, we did get a minor victory with Davis playing 79 minutes on a very hot afternoon. His assist was pure Brad Davis in that it came off his left foot and went right to his target. Davis was just oozing confidence on the field and it made the players around him better. He wasn't afraid to shoot, he moved with the ball almost Boniek like, and he passed and defended very well. Welcome back!
Giles Barnes (6.5) -Barnes lined up in the midfield as the Dynamo tried out a 4-3-3 with Boniek, Driver, and Bruin up top. Barnes was his usual calm and collected self over the ball, and moved the ball well under pressure. He made a very good run in the 69th minute in which he nearly picked out Bruin for a goal, but the timing was just a bit off.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (7) - Boniek was an important reason why the Dynamo controlled the tempo of this game for so long. He was playing up as a forward, but came all the way back to defend, and then would be immediately back in the attack. He served in some, according to Glenn Davis, "venomous crosses", and his quick passing and dribbling were just as dangerous to the Timbers.
Andrew Driver (6.5) - Driver had one of his better games this season, possibly his best. He was extremely up front and wasn't a defensive liability as he has been in previous matches likely due to the support he had behind him. Driver pushed the ball up the field very well and nearly had a goal himself as well as an assist.
Will Bruin (6.5) -Will Bruin snapped his goal scoring drought, and he did it with Brad Davis on the other end of the ball. Bruin got in front of his defender and then calmly headed Davis's cross down into the net. Bruin had a few other great opportunities, but failed to convert them due to tight angles and pretty good goalkeeping. I'm not ready to say Bruin is now in form and ready to score goals every game, but getting that one goal to break the drought can be enough to give one confidence.
Servando Carrasco (5.5) - Carrasco came on for Warren Creavalle in the 64th minute, but really wasn't too involved in the game. He covered well on defense, but other than that had maybe one memorable cross.
Brian Ownby (6) - Ownby came on for Brad Davis just before the 80th minute and helped spur a bit of a late push for a goal.
Mark Sherrod (-) - I'm tempted to give Sherrod a rating after a shot of his was poorly struck and missed the goal entirely, but that would be a bit harsh given he pretty much only played for stoppage time at the end of the game.
Coach Dominic Kinnear (6.5) - Kinnear changed things up, something a few of us (okay a lot of us) didn't think he'd do. He went back to his 4-3-3 which has helped produce a winning streak or two in the past and it looked pretty good most of the time. The Dynamo were rarely caught on the counter attack, they controlled the midfield, the defense didn't have a whole lot of work to do, and the offense looked threatening and even scored fairly early into the game. Kinnear loses a few points for poor finishing and a defensive error which was avoidable.