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Player Ratings: Houston Dynamo vs Columbus Crew

The Houston Dynamo saw their 2-0 lead at half time against the Columbus Crew shrink until things were level. Cummings and Barnes continued their strong partnership, but poor defensive marking allowed the Crew back in this one.

Trask Smith, Blue City Photography

5 quick observations about this one:

1) Production continues between in-form partnership between Giles Barnes and Omar Cummings

2) Another tough day for Tyler Deric who conceded another 2 goals.

3) My theory about duality to this game (both teams excelling offensively, but struggling defensively) is in Ricardo Clark's positioning on the field. He's higher up the field which creates chances for us, but leaves space in the midfield for a talented Crew offense.

4) Boniek injury? There were other odd subs too.

5) The Dynamo didn't have any corners after Brad Davis was substituted, which is something I just found to be weird.

Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:

Tyler Deric (4) - It was another tough outing for Deric who for the 2nd game in a row conceded two goals. Deric was able to make a few good saves and he was alert to stop a run by challenging the ball outside of the box, but communication in the back was lacking. The two goals against the Dynamo were the result of unmarked players and while both shots were difficult to save, letting players know who to mark is one of the main jobs of the keeper.

Kofi Sarkodie (5.5) - Like most of the team, Sarkodie had a really strong 1st half, and a so-so 2nd. The difference between the two was his passing. The first half, he linked very well with Boniek and was able to become involved in the offense often. He helped play Omar Cummings the pass that led to our 2nd goal of the match, but it was a different story in the 2nd half. Sarkodie and Brian Ownby were never on the same page and both struggled with their movements forward.

David Horst (4.5) - The central defense wasn't the biggest issue for the Dynamo for the first time in...well awhile. Horst actually passed pretty well out of the back and made some vital clearances for the Dynamo. Horst did have one problem, and that problem was what Tony Tchani did to him. In the first half, Tchani one touched the ball around Horst, and then out muscled Horst to the ball to get a shot off that was wide by inches.

A.J. Cochran (5.5) - Referee Ricardo Salazar must have it out for the rookie Cochran because twice Cochran was called for a foul inside the box which prompted Salazar to point to the penalty spot. It was a good thing that Salazar talked it over with the assistant referee after which Salazar overturned his own call - both times. Oh, Cochran also nearly had his first career goal which was later ruled an own goal. Still Cochran outmuscled Aaron Schoenfeld to Brad Davis's corner kick and helped make sure the ball went into the back of the net.

DaMarcus Beasley (3) - DMB had his toughest time since he donned the Dynamo jersey and a lot of that has to do with Columbus's dynamic attacking players. Beasley really struggled moving the ball and getting involved in the attack and it nearly cost the Dynamo a few times as some of his turnovers directly resulted in chances on goal. Beasley did have one brilliant run as he sliced through the midfield and found an open Andrew Driver, but nothing ended up coming of the chance.

Luis Garrido (7) - Garrido was once again a menace in the midfield for the Crew. He intercepted passes and disrupted play, and was able to successfully distribute the ball after his defensive efforts. He was the one that dispossessed Justin Meram which led to our 2nd goal of the match. In the 2nd half, he had to fall back and cover a bit too much ground alone, but was still effective individually even though as a team things had fallen off.

Ricardo Clark (6.5) - Clark came very close to scoring the opening goal for the Dynamo following an Omar Cummings pass, but his shot was blocked. Clark generated a lot of chances for himself and others on the offensive end of the ball, but his positioning higher up the field had a dual effect. On one hand, it allowed the Dynamo offense to create the number of chances that it did, specifically in the first half. On the other hand, it gave Columbus some room to wiggle through in the midfield which allowed them to create the chances that they did.

Oscar Boniek Garcia (6) - While the big news around Boniek is his exclusion from the 2nd half unit. He reportedly had blurred vision and was taken out as a precaution. During the first half, Boniek was able to help generated some offensive momentum with his passing and footwork with the ball.

Brad Davis (6) - Davis was one of the most accurate Dynamo passers and created quality opportunities for others and himself. Davis continued his run of success on set pieces, as his delivery off a corner kick saw the Dynamo open the scoring. However, he won't be getting an assist credit as the goal was ruled an own goal. Davis's work on the defensive side of the ball was more of an area of concern exemplified by his poor marking on Ethan Finlay on the 2nd goal by the Crew.

Giles Barnes (7)
- Barnes continued his scoring streak by getting the Dynamo's 2nd goal of the game. The goal itself was a nice chip over the keeper after he made a nice run off a Cummings pass. Barnes and Cummings had a 2nd straight game where the two linked for a goal and the two have definitely helped not rush striker Will Bruin back from his injury. Barnes's performance did dip some in the 2nd half as he played deeper.

Omar Cummings, MotM, (7) - Cummings is my man of the match because he created more shots for himself and others than any other player - Dynamo or Crew. Cummings showed off his speed, his passing, and his ability to take on defenders like in his days with the Colorado Rapids. Cummings was at times too ambitious with his shots, but more times than not, the offense ran through him.

The Subs:

Brian Ownby (3.5)
- Ownby entered the game for Boniek at half-time and never really fit in with the team. Despite a very high passing accuracy, he really struggled to get himself involved and that was usually because of poor runs, one of which saw him in an offside position.

Andrew Driver (5) - Driver came in for Davis early into the 2nd half and tried to get the Dynamo back into the game. Despite the high level of energy that he brought to the left side of the field, the team struggled to mimic his pace and enthusiasm.

Alexander Lopez (N/A) - Alex came on for Omar Cummings, which was a bit of a surprise substitution. Alex found it difficult to make a late run for a game winner and didn't have the ball often enough to make a significant impact.

Coach Dominic Kinnear (5.5)
- This game really should've been over after we went up 2-0, but the Crew were allowed back in the game by poor marking. The substitutions seemed a bit confusing as well. Boniek's substitution was perfectly understandable, but Davis's was more of a head scratcher. I don't think Kinnear subs Davis "just because" so something must've been going on, but we may never know. Bringing Alex on for Cummings seemed like an odd choice, but Kinnear was short on options and Cummings likely isn't a 90 minute player yet. That being said, the offense during the first half was incredible to watch. The way the players moved through Columbus's midfield is enough to make you believe this team can still do it and make the playoffs. Then we're all reminded about the 2nd half.