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Player Ratings: Dynamo vs. the San Jose Earthquakes

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The Dynamo earned 3 points on the road against Western Conference opponent the San Jose Earthquakes thanks to quality goalkeeping and the return of a goal hungry dancing bear.

Take a bow Rico
Take a bow Rico
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Quick Thoughts:

1) The Dynamo really needed this one. Though the importance can be debated about the win (both sides were short handed after all so this isn't a sign that the Dynamo will go on a 10 game winning streak), what is important is the 3 points on the road with several reserve players helped keep the Dynamo playoff relevant.

2) There were several utilized strategies that saw success, but the wide play - specifically when Beasley and Lopez linked, created several opportunities for the club. As the Dynamo tried to hold onto their lead late, they had to concede possession to San Jose in order to keep players back defensively.

3) The win marked the return of Tyler Deric, Kofi Sarkodie and Nathan Sturgis to the starting lineup along with Will Bruin on the scoring sheet after failing to take a shot in his previous two matches.

Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:

Tyler Deric (7) - Regained his starting role after missing the match against the Chicago Fire due to illness. Deric came up with several big reaction saves including one that was a long range, dipping shot by Fatai Alashe in the 21st minute. Deric can also thank the goal post that Víctor Bernárdez hit the top corner of the woodwork rather than finding the net on a set piece effort in the 32nd minute after Deric somehow was cautioned by the central official - the official reason for his yellow card is listed as "Other Reason".

Raúl Rodríguez (6.5) - Rodríguez was moved to CB to pair with David Horst centrally and the Spaniard looked just as comfortable as he had earlier in the year at CB.  Rodríguez was intelligent from the back and didn't hesitate to clear the ball. He utilized his speed to intercept passes, obstruct shots, and dominate the aerial duels.

Kofi Sarkodie (6) - Rejoined the starting lineup a 2nd time this year with Jermaine Taylor playing with the Jamaican National team in the Gold Cup, Rodríguez moving to CB opened up Sarkodie's usual RB position. Sarkodie played with much more confidence than he had against Portland as he was able to provide some stability on the defensive end, but his over-use of the long ball down the right side turned the ball over far too often.

David Horst (6) - Horst didn't display his usual aerial dominance and he fouled San Jose players more often than he should have, but Horst held his own and made no hesitation to clear the ball from inside the 6 yard box or to steal the ball from an opponent and create a counter attack.

DaMarcus Beasley (7.5) - Beasley, recently named a MLS All-Star, played very well defensively notching 4 total tackles, the most of any Dynamo player, but it was his offensive contributions that really set him apart as one of our newer writers, Harrison Hamm, pointed out in his tactical analysis from the match. DMB's ability to find and exploit open space with his speed created havoc for the Quake back line.

Nathan Sturgis (6.5) - It was another underrated night for Sturgis, who filled in at central midfield for Luis Garrido who was a late call up to the Honduran National Team. Sturgis quietly amassed 5 intercepted passes and a pair of headers won while his defensive presence helped Ricardo Clark push the offense.

Ricardo Clark, MotM, (7.5) - While it was relatively mild defensive performance by Rico, he was the difference maker on offense as he continued to get into dangerous spaces and fire shots that threatened the goal. Rico scored the game's opening goal and lone goal for much of the match, on a diving (or falling) header after getting in front of his marker.

Alex Lima (6.5) - Provided a healthy mix of attacking creativity and defensive composure for the Dynamo at RM. Alex doesn't appear to be 90 minute fit, but he provided tackles in the midfield, accurate passing from the right side, and he nearly had a goal just before halftime but his shot went straight at the keeper.

Alex Lopez (7) - I've been saying it for awhile now, but I think Alex Lopez's best position is LM because Beasley can absorb a lot of his defensive shortcomings. Lopez provided the game's first assist which he delivered with pin-point precision. Lopez continued to provide dangerous opportunities with his superb passing which lead to 4 registered key passes, though his performance was lacking on the defensive end, especially in the 2nd half.

Brad Davis (6.5) - Davis was officially listed as a forward which had most fans scratching their heads, but Davis actually played a role similar to Giles Barnes in a "withdrawn forward/central attacking midfield" position. Davis wasn't spectacular with his service, but he helped the Dynamo establish possession early in the game and provided 3 tackles on the defensive end.

Will Bruin (6.5) - Though Bruin somewhat controversially made the MLS Team of the Week, his performance in this game showed notable improvement over his previous two outings in which he failed to even register a single shot. Bruin looked aggressive, asserted himself into the game when the ball wasn't coming to him, and he was able to finish off finish off an unselfish play by Leonel Miranda to clinch the result.

The Subs:

Leonel Miranda (6.5) - Miranda didn't get a lot of touches on the ball, but he was able to provide plenty of pressure on players which helped lead to Sanna Nyassi turning the ball over which Miranda took control of and assisted to Will Bruin for the game's 2nd goal of the game.

Rasheed Olabiyi (6) - The newest Dynamo signing didn't see a lot of the ball in his debut, but his quickness helped disrupt play which would in turn lead to a goal for the Dynamo late.

Mauro Manotas (N/A) - Came on for Will Bruin in stoppage time and didn't make any notable plays on the ball.

Coach Owen Coyle (6.5) - This was an important win for a lot of reasons. For starters, it showed that the Dynamo do want to compete for a playoff spot and can do so on the road with many of their starters missing (of course San Jose was missing a few key players as well). Even though Coyle rolled out a similar version of his usual game plan, he did it with many new players and players playing in unfamiliar positions. Coyle correctly subbed the exhausted Alex Lima out for Leonel Miranda who proved to be a difference maker late.