5 quick observations about this one:
1) Boniek was one of the best MLS players this week. His goal was a beautiful volley, and his passing was first rate.
2) Tyler Deric looked confident in goal and notched his 2nd straight shutout.
3) This offense is firing on all cylinders. It looked dangerous in about every category an offense can look dangerous.
4) Cochran still the man as Kinnear opted to keep the rookie in the lineup despite Jermaine Taylor's return. Cochran and Horst continued their development with another strong showing.
5) Three HUGE points. While the Dynamo are still in playoff limbo, neither being in them or out of them, the team needed these points badly to keep the hope alive.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tyler Deric (6.5) - Deric put together his 2nd straight shutout against another attack heavy team. Besides Deric's distribution from the back, what impresses me most is how fast he's getting his backline in order. Deric was yelling at his defenders, telling them where they need to be, and really looking like a leader out of the back (also looking a little bit like a young Pat Onstad with his beard). Deric came up with a handful of good saves including a difficult save following a Quincy Amarikwa bicycle kick.
Kofi Sarkodie (5.5) - I think some of Sarkodie's work offensively seems diminished compared to Boniek's amazing comeback, but Sarkodie struggled with the long ball. His crosses and long passes were not all that accurate, but when they were on target he made them count. His best cross of the game was to Brad Davis who headed the ball down to Boniek who buried the shot to put the game out of reach for the Fire.
David Horst (6) - Horst let Amarikwa into his head a bit and struggled to keep the clever striker from becoming a threat. However, Horst was extremely accurate in his passing in this game and made several important clearances that kept Fire from scoring.
A.J. Cochran (6.5) - Cochran really impressed me and continues to show improvement in his partnership with David Horst. Cochran, like Horst, made several key stops on Chicago attackers. Cochran nearly got his first goal following a Brad Davis corner kick, but his header was knocked away by Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
DaMarcus Beasley (6) - To me, the outside backs for the Dynamo didn't make the huge plays that the central defenders made, but they were quietly putting up a consistently strong outing. Beasley was incredibly accurate in his passing up the field and made a couple of good interceptions from the back.
Luis Garrido (7.5) - Garrido continued to be one of the best players on the field with his dominating tackling. He was called for a few too aggressive challenges in this game, but he still proved to be bothersome for the Fire.
Ricardo Clark (7.5) - Clark, more so than Garrido, is playing in a box to box midfielder role. Mostly that's because Garrido has afforded Clark the cover and opportunity to get forward. Clark was a huge part of the offense and his assist to Omar Cummings on the opening goal came from his weaker foot. And it was a long ball across the mouth of goal. That's pretty impressive.
Oscar Boniek Garcia, MotM, (8.5) -Many readers thought that Boniek needed some rest prior to his injury. Well a game and a half later, he is back! Boniek was the offense for the Dynamo. Besides his goal, which is available for selection for goal of the week, Boniek also made the MLS team of the week. Boniek nearly notched two assists in addition to his goal but his target, Giles Barnes, was twice denied by Sean Johnson. The passes to Barnes on these plays, by the way, were stunningly beautiful.
Brad Davis (7) - Davis looked dangerous again standing over the ball. Davis nearly had an assist to A.J. Cochran from a corner kick, but had to settle for an assist that didn't involve his famous left foot. Davis used his head, something he's famous for not using very often amongst the team, and headed a Kofi Sarkodie cross down for Boniek to bury with a volley.
Giles Barnes (6.5) - Giles Barnes would've walked away from this game with at least a goal, maybe two, if Sean Johnson didn't remind everyone why US Men's National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann values what he does as a goalkeeper. Two huge saves kept Barnes from his amazing tea sipping goal scoring celebration.
Omar Cummings (7) - Omar Cummings really opened up the game for the Dynamo. The combination of his speed and the runs he made really put pressure on the Chicago Fire defense. Cummings scored his goal in between two Fire defenders and created opportunities for others throughout his time in the match.
Brian Ownby (4) - Ownby came on for Omar Cummings just before the 80th minute and really didn't look in sync with the team. He played well enough from the midfield, but as he got into the offense his passing became weaker and he didn't look completely comfortable moving up.
Andrew Driver (N/A) - Came on late in the 85th minute for an exhausted looking Brad Davis. Driver was overlooked at times as a target despite passing effectively. Driver really didn't play long enough for a fair grade.
Coach Dominic Kinnear (7) - This was the type of win the team needed. It was one of the most balanced offenses I've seen from the Dynamo. They were dangerous from the run of play, on dead balls, on counter attacks, from the long ball, the through ball, and every other way you can think of. Defensively, the team held up to an attack heavy Chicago Fire side. Kinnear stuck with A.J. Cochran in the starting lineup even though Jermaine Taylor was available for selection and it paid off. The team won the game, and could have won it by more, and shut the opposing team out. This was a convincing win.