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Defense key in Dynamo's win over San Jose

In the Houston Dynamo's important 2-1 victory at home against the San Jose Earthquakes, the backline played magnificently.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The spotlight has been on the forwards pretty much all season for the Dynamo. After all, it is an elite corp they have, with Erick Torres, Will Bruin, Giles Barnes, and Brad Davis all spending time at the position.

But after Houston's win over fellow playoff-contending San Jose, we look to another position as the crucial one: defense.

The backline, consisting of, DaMarcus Beasley, Raùl Rodríguez, David Horst, and Sheanon Williams, was the key to victory. Not only did one of them score the first goal, but another had an assist and all of them made no mistakes defensively. They stayed compact, never missed a pass, and started the attack well.

Beasley was the man of the match, primarily because of his goal, which came on a great individual effort and finish. But he was much more than that. The US National Team star had six interceptions, a clearance, and didn't commit a foul, per whoscored.com. He consistently joined the attack, showed by the Dynamo attacking down Beasley's left side 42% of time.

He had the second most passes of anybody from either team, with 56, and had the most touches overall (75). This heavy involvement in the game is something that coaches love to see from fullbacks, as it gives the attackers help, and it's even better when the defensive aspect is there too.

All this resulted in an 8.8 match rating, which was far and away the best of anybody on the field.

The other back, Williams, wasn't all that worse. The former Union man, acquired from Philly in July, has played well enough in orange to put Kofi Sarkodie on the bench.

His good performances continued Saturday night.

He, like Beasley, joined the attack often, even grabbing an assist on Alex's decisive goal. He finished with a rating of 7.0, and while he didn't have the stats that Beasley did, he was positioned past midfield often and again was a reliable passing option.

The best defender of the match was Rodríguez, who again partnered well with Horst in central defense; he would easily have gotten a better rating than Beasley if not for the goal.

Here are his stats:

  • 6 interceptions (tied best on team)
  • 7 clearances (best on team)
  • 2 tackles (second best)
  • 94% pass accuracy (second best among starters)
  • 14 long balls (tied with keeper Joe Willis for first)
  • 11 accurate long balls (six more than Willis)
  • 2 times fouled (third on team)
  • 0 unsuccessful touches and times dispossessed
Pretty impressive right?

All this culminated in a 7.34 rating despite being shown a yellow. He was efficient on defense, active in starting the rush, and passed incredibly.

He's my man of the match.

Horst was also good, compiling four clearances, two interceptions and three tackles. He also had the top pass accuracy, with 95%.

He and Rodríguez were a lethal combination in the middle of the defense, so Owen Coyle would be wise to keep them together when the Dynamo face the Revolution next week.

With the back four currently in top form, Houston can continue to step closer to the playoffs, as they're only a point behind Seattle.