Three Quick Thoughts:
1) This was a very good Orlando City SC side. I know that a lot can be made of the fact that this is an expansion team that didn't do all that well in preseason, but that was preseason and this is a quality club. Orlando got players back quickly and defended deep which is something that good road teams do (or good teams in general really). They made it extremely difficult for the Dynamo to exploit holes and cracks in their defense. That Kaka guy is also pretty talented.
2) The defense, passing, and possession were actually pretty good in this game (in that order too). The defense forced difficult outside shots for OCSC with only 2 of their 8 shots coming inside the 18 yard box. This team passed with well at 81% accuracy and didn't give up too many passes in poor areas, though the team did struggle with the long ball. Possession was much more balanced compared to last match, and we even saw extended possession in the attacking third.
3) In my mind, this game really deserved to be a draw. I'd give the edge to Orlando overall, but this game was one of defensive performances and it was a defensive miscue that decided it.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tyler Deric (4.5) - Against Columbus Crew SC, Deric put in a performance that likely required Spider-Man's enhanced reflexes which helped earn the Dynamo their first win of the season. Against OCSC we learned that
Peter Parker Tyler Deric is capable of making a mistake. Deric made a few good saves including a brilliant stop against a Kaka free kick and a close range Kaka denial. However, a poor first touch after a David Horst back pass saw Pedro Ribeiro pounce on the mistake which ended up resulting in a Deric own goal. Deric played very well overall, but this one mistake was the difference between the two sides.
Kofi Sarkodie (6.5) - The Dynamo played the ball wide right more often than not and Sarkodie was a huge part of the success found offensively on that side. He was very accurate in his passing, though his long ball passing still needs work, and his overlapping runs with Leonel Miranda created a couple of crossing opportunities for Sarkodie. Sarkodie kept Kaka, who drifted to his left (Kofi's right), in line for the most part and disrupted Kaka during the run of play often.
David Horst (6) - Horst was a surprise start for most of us as we expected Raúl Rodríguez to return from his minor injury, but Horst kept things pretty organized in the back. His aerial prowess marked a departure from the previous game where that was one of our biggest weaknesses. Horst had one opportunity on goal that he'll probably want to try again as Leonel Miranda's corner kick in the 21st minute found its way to the head of Horst, but his header was well off target. Horst also intercepted the ball 5 times to keep things clear in the back.
Jermaine Taylor (6) - My initial reaction to Taylor's game was that he had a poor game. After a 2nd look I realized I was wrong. Despite a few noticeably sloppy giveaways, Taylor was one of the best passers in the game and he held it down defensively with 6 interceptions, a couple of big tackles, and some strong clearing headers.
DaMarcus Beasley (5.5) - The ball really didn't flow to Beasley's side too often, but Beasley demonstrated his passing abilities and his eagerness to push forward when the ball did find its way to the left side which allowed Davis to drift centrally. Beasley was there to corral the ball out of the back pretty often, but the Dynamo really needed to utilize both sides of the field a bit more to get players like Davis and DMB involved.
Luis Garrido (6) - Garrido wasn't quite the defensive stud that he has been in the past, and he did drop off a bit in that department from last game, but he was one of the game's best passers out of midfield and rarely turned the ball over.
Ricardo Clark, MotM, (6.5) - Clark continues to show his intelligence with the ball with his superb passing which led to some of the few opportunities the Dynamo had on goal all game and he showed his defensive capabilities by forcing turnovers and disrupting play in the midfield.
Brad Davis (6) - Davis had arguably the best chance on goal for the Dynamo, but his shot was deflected out for a corner kick. Davis drifted centrally often to get involved in the game and he rarely turned the ball over.
Leonel Miranda (5.5) - Still showed a bit of nervousness in his first official MLS start, but he showed that he paired well with Kofi Sarkodie along the right side of the field. Miranda also showcased his skill over a corner kick which Horst nodded out for a goal kick.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (5.5) - Boniek lined up as a striker and though he was supposed to float underneath Barnes, Boniek often found himself higher up the field which hurt the team's build up play. Boniek also stranded himself at times, but when he did get the ball he was able to successfully dribble around a defender or two and create a chance for the team. Personally, I don't like Boniek in a striker role and think he needs to stay in the midfield unless we're in a 4-3-3 which offers more support up top for the Honduran.
Giles Barnes (4.5) - Barnes could've been a casualty of the lineup/formation as he became more active when Will Bruin entered the game, but his poor passing was the worst of our field players (below 60%) and he struggled to insert himself and the offense into the game.
Will Bruin (5) - While Will Bruin did some of the things that Will Bruin haters love to point out like shanking a shot (it wasn't even registered as a shot) and struggling with the ball at his feet, his runs and movements off the ball really opened the team up to create more. The team also clamped down defensively and gave up fewer shots while Bruin was in the game. Though Bruin's individual direct contributions were minimal, his ability to pull defenders in with his size helped the team in other ways.
Rob Lovejoy (5) - Entered the match in the 83rd minute and did what we've seen from him in preseason: hustle. He didn't see a lot of the ball, but the effort was there to try and get the Dynamo back in the game. Unfortunately, after the own goal Orlando City SC sat back and defended deep making it difficult for the Dynamo to find their way back in it.
Coach Owen Coyle (5.5) - The lineup experimentation continues. Boniek isn't a striker and the team struggled with him in that position. Defensively this team impressed me a lot in this game as they forced difficult long ranged efforts all evening, but offensively we just aren't there yet. I give a lot of credit to Orlando for how they defended, but our team lacked creativity and struggled to switch the field successfully which would have opened the offensive third up more.