5 quick observations about this one:
1) Another lead coughed up...twice
2) Injury prevents Horst/Brunner pairing
3) No goals in the 2nd half, but a lot more of a concerted effort from the team
4) Defense needs to stop falling asleep. You just can't do it, even in stoppage time!
5) Barnes and Davis continue to tear it up together
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tally Hall (4.5) - It's hard to fault Tally too much on the goals and Hall didn't really have the "saves that kept the team in it". Aside from his distribution, Hall must work preventing dangerous rebounds after making the initial save. Sometimes it's as easy as deciding to punch the ball rather than attempt the catch.
Kofi Sarkodie (5.5) - Sarkodie continues to be our best defender. While he didn't contribute a huge amount to the offense, the crosses he did send in were some of the better deliveries I've seen from the right back.
David Horst (3) - Horst was caught out of position a number of times, most notably on the Dominic Oduro goal where he was beaten back to his position by Ricardo Clark and Brad Davis. Horst was also supposed to mark up on Gilberto which led to Toronto FC's first equalizer. Horst has a lot of fire in him, but he needs to learn to keep a cooler head and be aware of the positioning of his marks and the rest of the defensive back line. [Note: After great comments I realize that it was Cochran and not Horst that should have stepped up to mark Gilberto on the first goal. Bump up Horst to 3.5 and Cochran down to 3.5 if you wish].
Eric Brunner (N/A) - The injury bug wasn't quite full of its appetite for Dynamo players. This time it was Brunner that left the match in just the 4th minute with an abductor strain. The Horst/Brunner CB pairing that many wanted to see did not last very long.
Corey Ashe (3.5) - Ashe's return to the starting lineup and his usual LB position was marred by his challenge on Luke Moore that sent Michael Bradley to the penalty spot. Fortunately, Bradley choked on the kick and bailed out Ashe's mistake.
Warren Creavalle (5) - Creavalle is a much stronger midfielder than defender now. That wasn't always true, but now he's become accustomed to pushing up the field more. Creavalle played next to Ricardo Clark in central midfield and had a few poor touches on the ball which led to nervous moments and was also caught a bit too far up at times.
Ricardo Clark (6) - Clark was Michael Bradley's shadow for much of his time on the pitch and continues to show us his importance to the team with his discipline. There was a moment in the game where Sarkodie sent in a great ball, and Clark brought the ball down perfectly, and then delivered a seamless pass to Giles Barnes whose shot hit the side net.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (6) - Boniek was pretty absent the first half of the match, and wasn't a huge factor in either of the two goals scored. He didn't get too many touches as the ball rarely found itself on the right side of the field. Boniek turned it on in the second half showcasing some of the fancy footwork that we all love (seriously...that back heel late in the game) and helped push the offense.
Brad Davis (7) - Davis once again proved how valuable he is to this team. Davis was a creative force and nearly had a goal or two along with a few near assists. Davis probably got in the head of Michael Bradley on his penalty kick which hit the post too, which is just awesome.
Giles Barnes, MotM, (7.5) - Barnes, like Davis, had a great game. The Man of the Match honor really could go to either of them, but Barnes had the goal which tipped the scale in my opinion. It took Barnes (and the team really) awhile to get going, but the Dynamo played a lot better when Barnes had the ball. Barnes created shots and opportunities out of almost nothing, and his passing was first rate.
Will Bruin (5) - The Dancing Bear finally got back on the score sheet, and it was a goal that showed off one of his best qualities: his strength (okay... poaching). Bruin was more involved in the offense than he has been for what seems ages. This wasn't always for the better, as poor giveaways still haunt Bruin and periods of listlessness sometimes prevail. Still, Bruin getting involved in the game is a huge improvement over having him start and not contribute.
A.J. Cochran (4.5) - Cochran came in early for the injured Eric Brunner and filled in pretty nicely in my opinion. He marked Luke Moore fairly well leading up to the second goal, but he had no support defending the delivery.
Andrew Driver (4) - Came on for Ricardo Clark and was a bit of a non-factor in the game. The Dynamo were able to push up the field more with Boniek moving inside to a CAM role and Driver occupying the right side, but Clark's precision passing was missed.
Coach Dominic Kinnear (5.5) - While the Dynamo didn't get the result they needed, they did see a few things that offer some optimism to Dynamo fans: both forwards scored in the first half, and the second half saw great link-up play and was a much better example of teamwork. Dominic Kinnear teams have historically been very sturdy defensively which is clearly not the case now with these players. I can forgive Gilberto's goal because it was quite good - a great pass and a great finish through traffic, but the second goal allowed was just lazy. Ashe could have cleared the ball, but Horst should have been there. My point is this team is playing better than it was and that is a good sign as there is still a lot more of the season left to be played.