1) The offense needs a shakeup and now is the time to do it with Giles Barnes, Boniek, and Luis Garrido all away with their national teams. This provides opportunities for impact players like Alex Lima to step in and help the team from a variety of positions - though in front of Clark would be okay by me.
2) The Dynamo haven't had a lot of luck with officiating lately as they've managed to have goals they've scored called back which appeared to be perfectly legitimate. Still, it looks like the ref got this one right by not calling this shot by Razvan Cocis which bounced under the crossbar. What do you think?
3) Patrick Nyarko's goal had several defensive blunders that led to the mistake in the back. Horst was out of position, Beasley wasn't marking Nyarko, Taylor didn't cover the box/out of position Horst, and Willis reacted late.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Joe Willis (5.5) - The former D.C. United backup keeper stepped into the starting role for Tyler Deric, who was a late scratch to the lineup due to illness. The 6'5 Willis was able to perform well against a tepid Fire offense, but at times he lacked confidence in the back. The goal that was scored against him was not entirely his fault (he made himself big and stopped the initial opportunity), but it was one that he should have held onto or smothered into the ground rather than spilling it in front of the attacker.
Raúl Rodríguez (6.5) - Passed reasonably well from the RB position, though struggled with the long ball at times, Rodríguez made several tackles along the right sideline and managed to register 5 intercepted passes including a huge clearing interception in the 64th minute to keep the Fire off the score line.
Jermaine Taylor (6) - Had an improved game following his previous rough night against FC Dallas as he was able to make numerous necessary clearances to keep it relatively neat in the back. Still, the Jamaican didn't completely bounce back and he gave up a few too many costly fouls in dangerous areas.
David Horst (5.5) - It was a relatively average day for Horst who struggled against some of the speed that the Fire had up top, notably the runs of Patrick Nyarko in the 2nd half, but his strengths as a center back simply didn't surface as well as they had in previous weeks.
DaMarcus Beasley (6.5) - Beasley played well on both sides of the ball making key tackles and advancing into the attacking third of the field and drawing fouls around the 18 yard box. Beasley probably should've marked Nyarko better for the Fire's only goal, but some blame can be placed on Willis and Taylor for allowing the ball to cross the mouth of goal the way it did.
Luis Garrido (7) - Although Garrido struggled to transition the ball well, defensively he was a stud. Garrido led all players in tackles in the game and disrupted the Fire's midfield while demonstrating some restraint with the ferocity of his challenges.
Ricardo Clark (6) - I feel that when Clark is called upon to be one of our best offensive players, we're bound to have a poor outing. Clark is capable of being an offensive threat due to his athleticism, vision, and shot selection, but he's not a primary attacker and he shouldn't be. Clark was one of our most active offensive players in a game where our offense likely wants a do-over.
Brad Davis (6) - Made his return to the starting lineup after missing the previous two games with a bruised knee and provided some offensive spark for the team while showing some of the signs of coming off an injury. The creativity that Davis brings is there, along with the service - which helped lead to the Dynamo's only goal, but Davis looked slower compared to his Fire counterpart and matchup Harry Shipp.
Alex Lopez (5.5) - Filled in at RM once again for Oscar Boniek Garcia who is with the Honduran National Team, Alex Lopez didn't seem in sync with those around him as he put up some of his poorest passing stats of the season. He often played a long ball with hope which was cleared away easily. Defensively, he gained some ground managing a tackle and an intercepted pass in his 53 minutes of playing time, but his substitute had far more impact on the match.
Giles Barnes (6) - Barnes mostly served the role of creator and provided an early chance for Will Bruin to score in the 13th minute, but the shot was poorly taken and went wide. Barnes has drifted in and out of games since his early summer goal scoring streak and the offense as a whole has lacked a creative force. Barnes dropping into a deeper lying forward role was supposed to remedy the problem, but he's becoming targeted by defenders and now must relinquish possession to players out wide or behind him which disrupts the runs of others.
Will Bruin (4.5) - Bruin tried to assert himself in this game after failing to register a shot against the Portland Timbers and FC Dallas, but he was unable to find the target, even with a clear chance on goal his shot was well of the mark.
Alex Lima, MotM, (7) - Alex has waited patiently for his time to shine and he finally got it against his former club. Alex has played well in his showings in the US Open Cup and became an early option for Owen Coyle in this match. He quickly cleaned up a ball in front of Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson to put the Dynamo up against the visitors. Alex brings an attacking and creative mentality that's been sorely lacking the last few games and his ability to pick out teammates in good positions should provide stable support while several players play with their national teams in the Gold Cup.
Leonel Miranda (6) - Helped the Dynamo withstand late pressure and maneuver the ball out of dangerous areas, but only managed a handful of passes and touches in his late cameo.
Mauro Manotas (N/A) - Came on shortly after Miranda, but was only able to make 2 passes in his appearance.
Coach Owen Coyle (5.5) - This team has struggled against Western Conference opponents and against teams on the road, so this team needed to win at home against a less than stellar Fire side in order to gain some confidence. Coyle made the right tactical change by putting on Alex Lima, but overall some of the tactics that had worked earlier this summer seem to have grown stale. The Gold Cup should force Coyle into making difficult decisions which could revitalize the club despite key absences across the field.