5 Quick Thoughts:
1) 3 central midfielders? Check. It seemed that Owen Coyle's formation which was both a 4-5-1 and a 4-3-3 worked well before Ricardo Clark's injury.
2) It was a rough first 5 minutes as the Dynamo gave up an early goal, but that early deficit may have galvanized the team into creating more opportunities and finding ways for the formation to work.
3) Tyler Deric put in another great match as his 3 saves helped earn him a spot on the MLS team of the week.
4) David Horst really shouldn't dribble the ball out of the back anymore.
5) Houston is still dangerous on set pieces.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tyler Deric (7) - Last week, Deric's own goal gaffe proved to be the difference between Orlando City SC and the Dynamo. This week Deric established himself well in goal making a few key saves to help Houston earn a road point in a difficult place to play against the reigning MLS Cup champs. Deric nearly prevented Robbie Keane's early goal, but the contact Deric made with the ball on the shot wasn't enough to keep it out of the net. Deric's performance also earned him his 2nd spot on the MLS team of the week in just 3 weeks.
Kofi Sarkodie (5) - It wasn't the strongest outing for HRH as a relatively soft yellow card was the highlight of his performance. Sarkodie was able to make a few necessary clearances, but he failed to involve himself more up the right flank with Oscar Boniek Garcia.
David Horst (7) - Let me preface Horst's rating by saying that he should not attempt any more dribbling out of the back because it cost the Dynamo a goal and nearly led to another breakaway. That being said, Horst redeemed himself by providing an aerial assist to Nathan Sturgis which saw him beat out Omar Gonzalez for the ball. Horst also made more clearances than any other player on the field which was important due to the amount of time LA had the ball in our defensive third.
Jermaine Taylor (6.5) - Taylor provided a lot of stability by passing with a high level of accuracy and intercepting and clearing balls to keep things tidy in the back. Taylor also spent time at left back after DaMarcus Beasley's injury in order to keep a size advantage in the back.
DaMarcus Beasley (6) - Beasley played pretty well before a hamstring injury forced him to make his exit early into the 2nd half. Beasley led all field players with 6 intercepted passes and was able to link well with the midfielders. The only real dark mark on Beasley's performance was a misjudged header which nearly led to a chance by the Galaxy.
Luis Garrido (7) - Garrido had his best performance of the early season as his passing was nearly impeccable and he was able to tackle at the level we were used to seeing him at. A few of his challenges were a tad on the reckless side, one of which earned him a yellow card.
Ricardo Clark (6) - Clark's defensive position early was initially the deepest defending of the midfielders, but Clark was able to parlay his attacking abilities into more shots than any other Dynamo player despite playing less than half of the match. The big concern with Rico are the circumstances of his chest injury and whether or not he'll be able to play in the next match which will have a number of players absent due to international duty including fellow CM Luis Garrido.
Nathan Sturgis, MotM, (7.5) - In this game, the Sturge was the hero, and the journeyman midfielder put in a spectacular goal to equalize the game for the Dynamo. The shot wasn't too impressive, but his positional awareness leading up to the goal was as he simply knew where Horst's header was going to drop. Sturgis failed to tackle Robbie Keane which led to the game's opening goal, but after that his defensive awareness helped him intercept 4 passes, block a shot, and successfully transition the defense into offense. His performance should make everyone a little bit more comfortable with Garrido about to miss time and Clark's unknown status due to injury.
Brad Davis (6) - The Dynamo captain played a little bit of left winger, a little bit of left mid, and a little bit of central midfielder (attacking) in this game. Davis's usual calm over the ball helped him pass well, but some of his passes and play in general didn't threaten LA often enough - something that many of us have been critical of this year. Davis is still a danger on set pieces, but I think we all want to see Davis go at goal during the run of play more than he has been.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (6.5) - Boniek played a little all over the place and he seemed to recover the ball at will in the midfield. He regularly exploited his matchup against midfielder turned defender Robbie Rogers and may have helped the Dynamo score another goal if he had more support going forward.
Giles Barnes (5.5) - While Barnes's passing accuracy was once again a big area of concern, he was more active in the offense than he had been against Orlando City. The Dynamo shouted for a penalty after Barnes went down in the penalty area early in the match, but he was carded (perhaps fairly) for simulation as his mistimed jump and stumble was seen as a flop.
Rob Lovejoy (6.5) - A surprise substitution for the injured Ricardo Clark, Lovejoy brought intensity which helped the Dynamo from falling into any defensive lulls for extended periods of time. Lovejoy was a sparkplug off the bench that ran at the Galaxy defense and provided a few good chances for the Dynamo. Lovejoy's passing accuracy was among the worst for field players, but Lovejoy's hustle more than made up for that inadequacy.
AJ Cochran (6) - Cochran came on for DaMarcus Beasley early in the 2nd half and was a rock in the back coming up with several key clearances. Cochran's size helped the Dynamo against the talented Galaxy attackers and he proved to be a quality target on a corner kick, but his header lacked pace to beat Galaxy keeper Jaime Penedo.
Will Bruin (5.5) - As the final substitution in a 1-1 draw, Bruin's selection proved Coyle wasn't trying to earn a draw. Bruin showed a lot of hustle, complemented by Lovejoy's work rate, and was able to make the most out of the few touches he had with the ball.
Coach Owen Coyle (7) - Coyle may have found a nice formula with 3 defensive central midfielders in a 4-5-1 as it's a formation that is able to withstand attacks, clog passing lanes, and make strong tackles, while being able to convert into a 4-3-3 and attack on the fly. Initially, I thought Coyle's starting lineup looked like we were fighting for a draw, but (perhaps aided by an early deficit) I was proven wrong in the style that we saw. Coyle's substitutions furthered the point that a draw would be not fought for, but settled for as his choices in bringing in left winger Rob Lovejoy and forward Will Bruin helped the Dynamo stay active offensively.
Overall, I'm happy with a road point in a difficult place to play against the reigning champs, but I'm more satisfied with the effort shown. This experimental lineup may raise more questions about how the Dynamo will be BC and AC (Before and After Cubo), but for now we saw some of the success it has against a very talented team.