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Player Ratings: Houston Dynamo vs. FC Dallas

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The Dynamo succumbed to getting beaten on the counter and individual mistakes even though they dominated the game in other ways.

This sums up the game pretty much.
This sums up the game pretty much.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Thoughts:

1) Quick stats rundown for the Dynamo: Possession: 65.8%, Passing Accuracy: 85%, Shots: 13 (2 on target), and 545 Total Passes (compared to 292 for FCD). Statistically, the Dynamo were dominant, but credit FC Dallas to effectively counter attacking, forcing our defense to make mistakes, and scoring 4 times on 6 total shots (that's incredible). I know Dynamo fans want to look for places and people to blame, but despite a strong showing, the team with a better executed game plan won (Basically this game was the anti version of our game against Montreal in which they dominated the stats, but we dominated the score sheet).

2)  The 4-4-2 formation isn't broken. I've heard a lot about the lack of covering in the midfield, the 8 goals in 2 games, and Garrido's presence making things somehow okay. Throw the game out against SKC because we should really only talk about 2 of the goals (and Garrido was on the field for one of the legit goals). Against FC Dallas, having another midfielder wouldn't have stopped the way that they countered and it certainly it wouldn't have prevented the individual mistakes that led to each of the game's goals. Maybe an additional player in the mid could have helped out on one of the goals, but not all. Furthermore, before Bruin got back in the lineup, the team struggled to possess the ball, attempt shots, and look balanced in attack and defense. This team is still a work in progress, but it isn't time to start backtracking.

3) Nathan Sturgis has been huge for the team so far this year, something nobody saw coming, and his confirmed dislocated shoulder (that was put back into place) could impact the Dynamo moving forward. Sturgis passes the ball extremely well, is underrated in the air, and shadows players defensively very well. It's nice to have Garrido, but the team will miss Sturgis while he recovers and it makes going back to the 4-5-1 (something I'd be in favor for to protect leads) that much more difficult.

4) Individual mistakes are the real culprit as 1v1 marking against players with talented footwork was poor, and communication issues caused by players moving up the field followed by a Dallas counter attack led to spacing and marking issues across the back line.

Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:

Tyler Deric (4) - It was another tough game for Tyler Deric as he let in 4 goals for a 2nd consecutive game and unlike the match against Sporting Kansas City, I think at least one goal is savable. The first goal by Ryan Hollingshead was a shot that was almost right at Deric.  The Dynamo defense has to get better and it starts in the back with Deric.

Kofi Sarkodie (3.5) - Sarkodie had a rough night defending Fabian Castillo. Kofi's 1v1 defending has been something I've brought up in the past, but hasn't been a big issue for some time. Enter Castillo. Castillo regularly danced around Sarkodie with his foot work and that was shown with his goal, Dallas's 4th. Sarkodie didn't close down the space in front of him which opened up Castillo to have the room to aim and shoot. Sarkodie was also out of position for the game's opening goal as he went to challenge Castillo near the center of the field who flicked the ball to Hollingshead who took it the whole way (on Kofi's side of the field). Sarkodie redeemed himself by passing the ball well out of the back and registering 5 tackles, tied for the most of any player in this game, but individual mistakes are a theme for this game and Sarkodie had a few.

Jermaine Taylor (4.5) - Communication issues are a problem in central defense as Raúl Rodríguez and Taylor seldom looked on the same page. They switched which side of central defense they would cover, but that led to spacing/marking issues which were exploited by FCD. Taylor slipped while marking Mauro Díaz which led to the 3rd goal by Dallas. Taylor was strong in the air, passed well from the back, and intercepted a pair of passes, but his defensive efforts just weren't consistent enough and I think a lot of that is communication problems cause by Dallas's counter attacks.

Raúl Rodríguez (4.5) - Other than central defense communication issues, Rodríguez, like Sarkodie, struggled with his 1v1 defending as he failed to close space which opened up dangerous chances for Dallas. FCD's 2nd goal was scored when Rodríguez couldn't take Castillo off the ball (which is hard to do when Castillo has a lot of space to work with).

DaMarcus Beasley (5) - Beasley was easily the best defender for the Dynamo as he, for the most part had his left side pretty much in check, but he was exposed when he got up the field and Dallas Countered, which happened on the game's 2nd goal.

Nathan Sturgis (6.5) - Sturgis has a 97.4% passing accuracy on 41 touches (he only turned it over once), had a pair of tackles, and won a duel in the air. We're hoping his turnaround time for his injury is short because Sturgis has been amazing this year.

Ricardo Clark (6) - Clark really pushed the offense with his pace and 4 shots, but it didn't look like he was in sync with the rest of the team and defensively he could've been the central midfield general that he's been throughout his career.

Brad Davis (6.5) - Davis tried to put the team on his shoulders, especially late, and despite dangerous service, 3 tackles, and late desperate shot attempts, it wasn't enough. The team didn't share his push for goals due to the mental drag of being down by 3 goals for most of the 2nd half.

Alexander Lopez (5.5) - Lopez had a few moments of brilliance where he passed well or made a good run with the ball, notably the play in which the Dynamo earned a FK just outside the box, but his decent defensive play as of late didn't really carry over to this game as he was often a defensive liability that Castillo blew by.

Giles Barnes, MotM, (6.5) - While Brad Davis tried to carry the team, Giles Barnes was one of the few that supported his tremendous effort on the offensive end. Barnes wanted the free kick that led to his goal, and Davis let him have it and Barnes calmly put the free kick attempt in the corner to put the Dynamo within 1 goal by halftime. Barnes often earned corner kicks for the Dynamo by making great runs, turning on the speed, and forcing defenders to block the cross.

Will Bruin (5.5) - Bruin didn't see a lot of the ball, and a lot of that had to do with how well Dallas marked him, but he passed the ball reasonably well and won more than his share of aerial duels.

The Subs:

Oscar Boniek Garcia (6) - Boniek made his return from a knee injury by replacing fellow countryman Alex Lopez in the 55th minute and he didn't look to be slowed by any soreness. His crafty footwork was apparent and his speed, but some of his passing could have been a bit sharper.

Luis Garrido (5.5) - Entered for the injured Nathan Sturgis in the 61st minute and his first touch was a pretty poor shot. A couple of minutes later his 2nd effort looked much better than his first attempt. Garrido really didn't bring a lot defensively (he registered 0 defensive stats), likely due to Dallas sitting back on their lead, but he did pass the ball well.

Rob Lovejoy (5.5) - Showed a bit of his inexperience out there at times, and although he didn't see a lot of the ball he still did what he usually does with it: drive towards goal.

Coach Owen Coyle (5.5) - It's tough to penalize Coyle's tactics too much when they were largely effective (see the stats above). This holds up considering individual mistakes that the Dynamo committed: turnovers, poor marking, and communication issues in the back, made up for the goals allowed. What will be interesting to see will be where Coyle goes from here. He knows last game was different than this one, but will he fall back to a 4-5-1, stick with his 4-4-2 but change personnel, or will we see something entirely different.