5 quick observations about this one:
1) The defense stepped up and dealt with a strong Philadelphia attack
2) The offense slowed. After 8 goals in 3 games, the Dynamo managed 0 shots on goal in this match
3) Penalty or no? You be the judge
4) We wanted 3 points, but not out with a draw
5) Kofi Sarkodie must love getting yellow cards
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tyler Deric (5.5) - Deric recorded his first shutout of the year against the Union, and it didn't come easy. Deric's goal was a target often by Conor Casey and Andrew Wenger. Casey nearly found the goal after one of his shots was saved and then spilled by Deric, but the shot was again saved. There are some areas that Deric needs to improve in, such as not letting the ball out in front of an opposing striker's feet, but he takes responsibility for it and is showing signs of improvement. His distribution from the back is a very strong area for him and he was able to start counter attacks often with his very accurate throws and kicks.
Kofi Sarkodie (5.5) - Sarkodie was able to make a goal line clearance after the Dynamo let the Union keep possession in Dynamo 18 yard box far too long. Sarkodie didn't get himself into the offense too often, but he was very good at getting pushing the ball up to the forwards. Some of his trouble working into the offense could be because he and Andrew Driver don't link all that well on the right side of the field.
David Horst (6.5) - Horst provided a spectacular block on one of Conor Casey's attempts on goal. As Sebastien Le Toux sent in a perfectly weighted cross which sliced through the Dynamo defense and found its way right to a streaking Casey, Horst was there to block the shot which sent it safely over the top of the crossbar. Horst and Cochran continue to grow as a center back pairing and they're improving together. Horst had one of his better games in a long while in the back as he stayed tough and made things difficult for Philadelphia all game long.
A.J. Cochran (6) - In the 59th minute Cochran made a beautiful clean sliding tackle on the ball that stopped Conor Casey from making use of a great ball from Wenger. After he made the slide, he was up as if it all happened in one smooth motion and was still defending the play. Cochran showed a few times he was too quick to go to the slide tackle in this game, but in this instance it was worked and was gorgeous. The rookie still has room to improve, but he's proving himself more and more after each game.
DaMarcus Beasley (6.5) - Beasley found mixed success trying to work his way into the offense. He was able to earn some corner kicks and make a few great runs, but he turned the ball over a few too many times with some errant passing. Defensively, Beasley was near the top of his game. He made several key clearances and kept the Dynamo in the game while he was dealing with the pesky and speedy Le Toux.
Luis Garrido, MotM (7) - Garrido lived up to his nickname which translates to "The Beast". He made huge tackles that kept the Union off the score sheet, most notably his tackle on Wenger in the 57th minute. Wenger had just gotten his way around Horst and was looking at the goal when out of nowhere came Garrido who made a perfectly timed tackle on the ball. Garrido intercepted passes, disrupted plays, and generally made things tough for the Union.
Ricardo Clark (6) - Clark had a tougher time than his partner in central midfield. Clark pushed higher up the field again, but his passing seemed off and Clark keeps getting his shots blocked or deflected. The biggest talking point about Clark is whether or not his concussion symptoms return after getting hit pretty hard in the nose.
Andrew Driver (5) - Driver filled in for Oscar Boniek Garica, who is out with concussion symptoms. Driver struggled to link with Kofi Sarkodie which hurt the overlap plays on the right side. While he wasn't the most dangerous passer or player on the field, he was an efficient passer and got the ball to other players reliably.
Brad Davis (6) - Davis's service over dead ball opportunities is still some of the best in MLS, but in this game some of his targets were beaten to the ball and nothing came of it. Personally, I would've liked to see a little more offensive urgency coming from the team, and that must start with the team's captain. Davis showed plenty of urgency on the defensive end though. In one play, Davis made a long run back into the box to intercept a ball and showed us that he still has some speed left in him.
Giles Barnes (5.5) - While Barnes was the focal point of the Dynamo attack, things simply weren't going his way. Barnes and Cummings didn't quite show the team work that they had over their past two matches together. At times, Barnes kept the ball at his feet too long instead of trying to find the open man. Barnes was able to make several dangerous runs on and off the ball which opened up things up for the offense, but the final effort just wasn't there.
Omar Cummings (6) - Cummings was called for being offside 5 times which is 2 more times than the entire Philadelphia Union squad. Still, Cummings was one of the few players able to keep the Dynamo dangerous on the offensive end as he extended possession in the final third of the field with his speed, dribbling feats, and his passing abilities.
Alexander Lopez (5) - Came in for Luis Garrido in the 74th minute and passed the ball well enough, but was often out of position and couldn't be the spark to bring the offense life.
Brian Ownby (N/A) - Entered the match for Andrew Driver and didn't get many touches on the ball to become effective.
Jason Johnson (N/A) - JJ had one very good opportunity to find Giles Barnes to try and steal a winner, but his pass went straight to Philly.
Coach Dominic Kinnear (5.5) - This would have been a great result earlier in the year, but right now a draw barely keeps the Dynamo in the playoff discussion, if they're there at all. The Dynamo defense came up big and looked a lot better than it had in previous games leading up to this one, but the offense was lacking and couldn't produce a shot on goal all game despite good runs by Cummings, Clark, and Barnes. The Dynamo will need their offense and defense working, not just one or the other, if they want to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.