1) There are plenty of debates about artificial turf out there and while I side with the real stuff over fake surfaces, I generally try to not create excuses about team performances because of it. However, when artificial surfaces get wet things can get dangerous. The ball speeds up on the ground, players can slide longer distances, and the game can get fast, sloppy, and physical. Fortunately for the Revs, the field conditions played into their style of soccer - a fast, quick touch, attacking brand and it hurt the Dynamo's ability to build up play from the back.
2) The Dynamo had a similar number of shots as the Revolution (the Dynamo's 7 to the Rev's 10), but the Dynamo only managed to get a single shot on target. The Dynamo had difficulty breaking into the Rev's final 3rd of the field, but the Dynamo need to make the shots they take be more effective. The Rev's had 6 of their 10 shots on frame and forced Tyler Deric into making several difficult saves.
3) This game can largely be written off and not over examined. The Dynamo struggled in several areas of this game - shots, penetrating possession, and marking issues defensively, but a lot can be chalked up to how weather delays impact teams and how the slick field benefited NE's style of play. It's important to always remain critical (but loyal), but I think it would be more wise to grade the road trip rather than a game that lasted nearly 5 hours due to weather delays on a wet, fake field and claim things are falling apart when the Dynamo were on a 3 game unbeaten run prior to this fluke.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tyler Deric, MotM, (7) - Deric had several difficult reaction saves that kept the Dynamo alive until a few defending errors opened up the game for New England. Deric should once again be in the fray of the Save of the Week competition (just rename it "the Tyler Deric Award" already) for his stunning save on Kelyn Rowe in the 49th minute.
DaMarcus Beasley (6.5) - Only played the first half of the match likely due to poor field conditions, Beasley helped the Dynamo build play from the left side of the field and maintain possession through an excellent LB passing rating. However, Beasley never pushed into the offense to support runs, but his speed helped keep the Revolution offense in check.
AJ Cochran (6.5) - Stepped into the starting role following a late scratch to Raúl Rodríguez. Although Cochran's poor headed clearance contributed to the Rev's first goal, Cochran played a large part in making crucial defense stops with several passes intercepted, big clearances, a blocked shot, and headers won that were more successful.
David Horst (6.5) - Like Cochran, Horst's "clear first" mentality helped keep the back clear of danger and his 5 intercepted passes were the most of any player. Horst's passing from the back also improved which was difficult given the quick pace of the game and field conditions.
Sheanon Williams (6) - Williams struggled at times with his marking assignments, but he often recovered the ball well in defensive areas which helped build play for counters. Williams passed reasonably well from the right side, struggling with long balls, and his long throw-in attempts were among the more dangerous chances the Dynamo had all game.
Nathan Sturgis (6) - Returned from his red card suspension and played higher up the field than he has in the past which resulted in more chances in the first half for the Dynamo as they were able to press higher up the field. Though he had the worst passing accuracy among Dynamo players, he also created one of the closest chances for the Dynamo to score with a nifty pass to Alex Lima, but New England goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth was alert to the play.
Luis Garrido (5) - All of Garrido's fouls were close to the outside of the Dynamo 18 yard box, and some of the fouls were needless which earned him a yellow card. Garrido was out of place to mark Juan Agudelo for New England's clinching goal (though he nearly caught up to him). Despite these instances, Garrido passed well from the center of the field and played back well to defend counter attacks - though he wasn't always in position to make the stop.
Alex Lima (6.5) - Alex helped push the tempo and create defensive pressure for the Dynamo while he switched sides with Brad Davis from time to time showcasing his versatility in the midfield. Alex had a pair of chances to score but his efforts were off the mark.
Giles Barnes (6) - Was the 2nd best passer on the team (the first was Boniek who had limited touches), but Barnes dropped too far into the midfield for him to ever help generate offensive chances. Barnes floated around nearly like a box-to-box type, but his sharpness in front of goal was missed.
Brad Davis (6) - Davis had the team's single shot on goal which was a low effort that proved to be no problem for Bobby Shuttleworth. Davis proved to be one of the few creators for the team, but his struggle against players with pace looked significantly more difficult on the slick artificial turf.
Will Bruin (5.5) - Often tracked into the attacking midfield to help gain possession, Bruin once again failed to register a shot (on or off target). His passing was poor and he never got a lot of looks on the ball. However, his hold up play looked improved which helped get other players into the attack in advanced positions on the field.
Kofi Sarkodie (5.5) - Sarkodie came on at halftime for DaMarcus Beasley and he was targeted often by the Revolution offense that preferred attacking down his side. Sarkodie managed several clearances, passed reasonably well, and had a very good cross in the game, but his positioning on the left was weaker and he never looked completely comfortable on the turf.
Erick Torres (4.5) - Came on for Will Bruin in the 56th minute and won a pair of difficult headers in the air and passed well for a striker, but he played too far up the field to help support a midfield that was on its heels, fouled too often, and couldn't muster a shot (on target or off). Cubo will get more comfortable but at times he's unselfish when he needs to be selfish with the ball.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (5.5) - Boniek entered for Nathan Sturgis in the 76th minute and passed flawlessly on the few touches on the ball that he had, but he had the ball taken from him which led to the game's 2nd goal.
Coach Owen Coyle (6) - It's hard for me to place fault for this game due how weather delays affect teams and how the weather affected the pitch, but I thought Coyle's substitutes were unwise. The starting XI made sense, though I likely would have had Leonel Miranda start over Sturgis or Garrido to spread the field out. The first sub was DMB off for Sarkodie at the half, which I understand, but Beasley's speed and leadership was sorely lacking in the back for the 2nd half. Bruin was next off early into the 2nd for Cubo who never looked in sync with his teammates while Bruin himself only struggled from a lack of service. Lastly was Boniek on for Sturgis before the 80th minute which struck me as odd considering Garrido was sitting on a yellow and had just committed a poor foul. My thoughts on the subs aside, it's best to not look too far into this game and to rather judge the team's entire road trip. Up next: Portland and Colorado.