1) The Dynamo have a handful of games on the road that highlight why this year is different in matches away from BBVA Compass Stadium. Games like the win over Toronto FC and the 1-0 loss to Seattle where we showed plenty of fight standout as examples of games where the team displays tremendous effort in adverse environments. Still, the Dynamo struggle to score goals on the road. They've scored just 5 goals on the road compared to 16 at home and that NEEDS to change. The back-to-back 2-0 losses against Portland and FC Dallas show us that the struggle is indeed real. Sure weather and poor officiating affected both of those outcomes, but they impacted the other teams as well.
2) Dallas's speed and attacking creativity collapsed our central defensive pairing which is more adept at clearing chances out of the air and utilizing strength to stop counter attacks than it is at preventing technically gifted attacking teams. Furthermore, Alex Lopez was not enough to support Raúl Rodríguez from denying Castillo freedom to roam.
3) The Dynamo tried and tried to equalize, but their efforts just weren't enough. When Will Bruin is involved in matches, the Dynamo tend to flourish offensively, but when he's isolated and unsupported, the team gets desperate for their chances instead of making quality efforts.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tyler Deric (6.5) - It's hard to fault Tyler Deric on allowing either goal and Deric came up with several big saves to allow the Dynamo to keep some chance of salvaging the match. However, an own goal and Fabian Castillo slicing through the 6 yard box made it impossible to keep the clean sheet and the Dynamo offense was unable to fight its way back into the match.
Raúl Rodríguez (6) - Was tasked with containing Castillo which is a tall order. At times, Rodríguez afforded Castillo too much space which helped Castillo turn on his speed and technique to force a Dynamo own goal in the first half. However, the 2nd half Castillo had difficulty making the impact that he had earlier in the game. Rodríguez managed to intercept the ball 7 times, many of which were in dangerous areas of the field, make tackles, and block a shot. Castillo isn't easy to contain, but Rodríguez was able to at least perform the task more ably than Kofi Sarkodie earlier in the year.
Jermaine Taylor (3.5) - Made his return to the starting lineup after returning from international duty, Taylor struggled on both of the games goals. On Taylor's own goal, he should have been positioned to clear the ball better and on the second goal he was unable to get a foot on the pass by Mauro Diaz to set up Fabian Castillo (though there are several players that could pick up blame for the 2nd goal). However, it wasn't all defensive meltdowns for Taylor as he was still able to steal the ball 7 times and recover the ball well.
David Horst (4.5) - Horst arguably had a tougher night than Jermaine Taylor, at least from the statistical perspective as he was less effective and can take share in the blame for the 2nd goal for his failure to stay in front of Castillo. Horst wasn't making his usual big-time clearances, he had zero aerial presence in the back, and he passed the ball poorly out of the back.
DaMarcus Beasley (6) - Showed promise attacking down the left side and was able to fire off a pair of shots on target while he made it difficult for Ryan Hollingshead and others on the left side of the field to make an impact offensively.
Luis Garrido (6.5) - Brought his usual feistiness which helped him lead all players in tackles (tied with Zach Loyd). Garrido was able to assert his defensive presence well, but struggled to connect at times when the ball transitioned into offense - although he maintained a respectable passing percentage.
Ricardo Clark, MotM, (6.5) - It may not have looked like it, but Clark was once again the most dangerous player on the pitch for the Dynamo. Clark passed the ball very well for a box-to-box midfielder, won more challenges in the air than any other player on the field, and came up with the Dynamo's best chance on goal.
Rob Lovejoy (6.5) - Although Lovejoy only played for about half an hour before he was subbed off after he injured his right hamstring, he proved to be dangerous on both sides of the ball for Houston. He managed to pressure FC Dallas and get a shot while making 2 tackles and intercepting a pass in his brief start at LM.
Alex Lopez (6) - Alex Lopez continues to demonstrate he's a one-dimensional player. While Lopez contributed many quality offensive efforts and provided key passes, his support to Raúl Rodríguez was definitely lacking.
Giles Barnes (6) - Barnes appeared to drift in and out of the game which pretty much sums up the Dynamo offense. Barnes completed an astonishing 89% of his total passes on 28 total passes, took 3 shots (none on target), and even contributed defensively with a pair of tackles, but he was unable to link with Will Bruin up top and thus the offense never looked threatening.
Will Bruin (5) - Was left isolated and unsupported for the 2nd game in a row which meant the offense struggled. Bruin rarely was involved and was unable to muster a single shot.
Brad Davis (6) - Davis entered in the 29th minute for the injured Rob Lovejoy and though he lacked the pressure and intensity that Lovejoy brought early, Davis added his own creative flair that helped the Dynamo offense when there was a Dynamo offense. Davis passed the ball well and sent in a variety of dangerous kicks, but the offense as a whole didn't support the runs or service.
Mauro Manotas (N/A) - Entered the match in the 80th minute for Will Bruin and only managed 4 touches on the ball in his 2nd MLS appearance for the Dynamo which proves the Dynamo did indeed struggle to involve their forward(s).
Alex (N/A) - Came on for Alex Lopez in the 84th minute and was able to provide intensity and creativity, but it was too little too late.
Coach Owen Coyle (5.5) - Back-to-back 2-0 losses should not be acceptable, even if they were on the road. Coyle utilized a backline that had largely seen success, but didn't provide more support to Raúl Rodríguez on the right hand side to cover Fabian Castillo - who torched the Dynamo in their meeting in May. The team made adjustments the 2nd half, but couldn't get their shots on target. With the Gold Cup coming up, the Dynamo will be short 4 players (along with the likely chance that DaMarcus Beasley gets called up for knockout rounds) so things won't be easy heading into July for the Orange. Tactics will need tinkering and lineups adjusting as we all brace for international call-ups.