1) This game had a draw written all over it, but LA stole it late. LA had controlled the game's momentum, tempo, and possession, but Houston had the more quality chances. Credit goes to the defense for forcing LA to make poor shots and turning it over in the defensive 3rd. It rarely looked like the Dynamo committed fully to stealing one on the road apart from a few opportunities, and that ultimately did them in.
2) Soft goals continue to haunt the Dynamo. The team let this one slip away in a very similar way that they let the San Jose match slip away. Strong defensive performances, lackluster offensive performances, and a poorly marked allowed goal decides the game.
3) Whether or not you agree that Oscar Sorto deserved to be sent off for his late challenge against David Horst, the referee believed it was a foul. The placement of his call would have been laughable if it weren't tragic for the Dynamo. The foul appeared to have occurred inside the 18 yard box which would have resulted in a penalty, but the placement of the ball was several feet away from the box - so not even CLOSE to where the foul occurred. The Dynamo could have done more offensively to not have to rely on MLS officiating and the placement of the ball on a free kick, but this was pretty bad.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tyler Deric (6) - The Dynamo goalkeeper had to weather a bit more than he's been used to as the team appeared to sit back and absorb a lot of pressure from the LA Galaxy. Though Deric only registered 1 official save, he caught a few crosses and made a few good plays. However, there were a few nervous moments for the goalkeeper as he allowed the ball to pinball around a bit too much in the 6 yard box and communication on the final goal was definitely lacking.
Raúl Rodríguez (7) - The Spaniard once again took the starting place at RB over Kofi Sarkodie and he once again performed ably. He intercepted the ball numerous times, made key tackles, and blocked a pair of shots.
Jermaine Taylor (6) - Taylor should've earned a higher rating due to his excellent dispossessions, two blocked shots, and other great defensive efforts, but at times Taylor loses focus, especially late in games, and Alan Gordon was his man to defend on the play that led to the goal.
David Horst (6.5) - Horst's usual strong aerial game and "clear first" mentality were both present against the LA Galaxy, but Horst also blocked a key shot towards the end of the game and many of us would argue earned a penalty that could have equalized the game late into stoppage time.
DaMarcus Beasley, MotM (7) - Beasley did it all defensively by utilizing his speed to steal the ball, making key tackles, and passing extremely well for an outside back. However, some of his effectiveness up the field that we had seen over the last few matches weren't seen as the team had to sit back to defend against the possession heavy Galaxy.
Luis Garrido (6) - Garrido struggled to hold down the central midfield in the way that he has done against arguably stronger teams. Defensively he looked a little sloppy with his challenges, which led to 3 fouls blown which wouldn't be so bad, but he was subbed by the 54th minute.
Ricardo Clark (6.5) - Clark was able to help generate offense by quickly transitioning the ball, but his advanced position likely came to detriment the Dynamo midfield's ability to knock LA off the ball. Clark still defended well evidenced by his blocked shot and other defensive stats, but he could have helped the team build up more frequent attacks by helping to defend a tad more.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (6.5) - Boniek seemed to come and go in this game as at times he seemed to disappear while the team defended. What has impressed me most about Boniek in the last few games is the development of an incredibly accurate and dangerous long ball. He fed Will Bruin a very good over the top ball that led to one of the game's best chances, but one could make a case that Lopez (Boniek's substitute) had a stronger overall game.
Brad Davis (6) -Davis is always going to be a great passer and create chances, which he did against LA, but his set piece service didn't seem as sharp as it did the week before and some of Davis's defensive liabilities prevailed over his relatively improved defense from the past few games.
Giles Barnes (6) - For the majority of the game Giles Barnes looked lost, but when he suddenly asserted his presence into the game, the Dynamo suddenly began to possess the ball more, create more chances, and looked like a team that could steal one. Barnes really needed to drop deeper into the defensive midfield to force LA to make tougher decisions and then transition the ball to offense in much the way that Clark needed to drop back a bit more to help win the ball.
Will Bruin (6) - Bruin had two very close chances that could have changed the outcome of the game had his efforts found the back of the net, but it was not the Bear's day to score (or any Dynamo player for that matter). Bruin was still our most dangerous offensive player and generated the team's only 2 shots on target, and looked hungry coming off his impressive performance against Portland. However, service to him faded as the team struggled to create offense.
Nathan Sturgis (6) - Sturgis didn't see a lot of the ball or make a lot of defensive plays, but he helped keep the team organized and players aware of their positions.
Alex Lopez (6.5) - Passed the ball very well after coming on for Boniek, Lopez helped insert energy and urgency into the game that was severely lacking.
Rob Lovejoy (N/A) - Didn't play long enough to earn a fair grade.
Coach Owen Coyle (6) - This is a tough one for Coyle as he rode into the game on a 2 game winning streak, but the team didn't look like they came out for 3 points. From the beginning of the game, the Dynamo had to sit back and absorb the pressure and possession that LA wielded and relied heavily on the counter attack to generate their chances. The team needed to stop LA in the midfield which proved troublesome for much of the game and Barnes dropping deeper later in the 2nd half finally opened things up for the team.