1) The team clearly didn't feel ready for this match as the Rapids came out pressing early. While the Dynamo came back to control much of the 1st half after struggling early, they lacked the same energy in the first half and rarely got the ball into dangerous spots inside the Rapid's part of the field.
2) Alex Lima at LB and Mauro Manotas subs on before Cubo Torres. These things happened tonight and were completely avoidable.
3) To the Dynamo fans that broke their hands bashing in the panic button after this match (you're probably right for doing so), things aren't completely over. While this road trip was a disaster in terms of results, the Dynamo still have room to sneak into the playoffs, but it will take focus, a tremendous amount of effort, and wins over some difficult teams to get there. I'm not saying it will happen, because it's a lot to ask, just that it could happen. However, the playing needs to look significantly more inspired than this Colorado match to do so.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Tyler Deric (5) - Colorado didn't give Deric a ton of work to do with their 4 shots on target, but there were times when Deric and the back made poor decisions mentally and gifted a few chances to the Rapids which they often squandered. Deric guessed correctly on the penalty kick, but could not have saved that even if he were a good few feet taller due to the pace and placement of the kick. On the 2nd goal, Deric got caught out of position slightly, but the play had several mistakes from Manotas and Lima leading up to the play so I let him off the hook a little.
Alex Lima (3) - The versatile midfielder played in the left back position for the injured DarMarcus Beasley and Kofi Sarkodie. Lima was easily exploited by Colorado, specifically Vicente Sanchez, as his positioning wasn't sharp and his inexperience in the position created problems for the Dynamo in the back which often meant players tracking back to help defend.
AJ Cochran (6.5) - Filled in for Raúl Rodríguez who also missed out to injury and helped steer the ball away from danger numerous times through his skill in the air and his clearances and steals on the ground.
David Horst (6.5) - Similarly to Cochran, Horst helped use his aerial technique to send away crosses while also managing to pick up 11 intercepted passes. Horst looked fairly in control when he had possession and he rarely turned the ball over from the back.
Sheanon Williams (6) - Moved well into the offense as he sent in a dangerous crosses and one of his signature long throw-ins was one of the best chances the Dynamo had on goal all game. Defensively his game was a little more run-of-the-mill as he had a few good recoveries with the ball, but struggled against some of Colorado's longer balls and quick passing in the Dynamo half.
Nathan Sturgis (6.5) - Sturgis had another underrated match against one of his former clubs. Defensively, Sturgis broke up play and won midfield battles while linking well from central midfield with Boniek Garcia in right midfield. Sturgis also sent in the ball that by Bobby Burling which set up the Dynamo's equalizing penalty.
Luis Garrido (6) - Against Portland, Garrido managed to earn 5 fouls against him, but in this one he only saw 1 - a serious improvement, though he may have gotten away with a few heavier tackles. Garrido struggled with his decision making the higher up the field he went, but passed well from the holding midfield spot and racked up more tackles than any other player on the field.
Brad Davis, MotM, (6.5) - Davis is playing at a high level these days and his motor kept humming against the Rapids as he essentially was the Dynamo offense. He took a few close shots on goal and scored the equalizing penalty in the first half. He also tracked back to support Alex Lima and often let Lima push ahead essentially keeping Davis in a LB role.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (6) - In Boniek's 2nd start since his injury with the Honduran National Team during the Gold Cup, Boniek was very good at pushing the ball into dangerous positions offensively utilizing a very accurate passing game. However, defensively Boniek was not much of a factor and his legs in the high altitude made his 60th minute substitution seem reasonable despite the quality of his first half performance.
Giles Barnes (4.5) - Despite passing the ball well and checking back to help defensively, Barnes was rarely involved in a dangerous play for the Dynamo and at times completely disappeared. It seemed apparent that his speed wasn't fully there following a nagging Achilles injury.
Will Bruin (5) - What impressed me about Bruin's game against the Rapids was the ferocity he brought which helped him press Colorado's back into making difficult and quick passes, but Bruin (along with Barnes) failed to take a single shot on goal and forwards need to shoot if they want to score.
Leonel Miranda (5.5) - Came on for Boniek in the 60th minute, Miranda provided fresh legs along with wide play and a bit more defensive composure, but it became difficult for Miranda to make a large impact on the game.
Mauro Manotas (3) - Came on for Will Bruin in the 70th minute and only managed 5 touches on the ball. Manotas could have closed space on Sean St Ledger to force him to play a difficult pass or to lose possession, but instead gave him a lane to move through which set up the Rapid's game winning goal.
Erick Torres (4) - Cubo came on for Giles Barnes in the 78th minute and never looked completely comfortable. A lot of what he did seemed off like his failed bicycle clearance which was unnecessary given the space he had. Still, it's hard to judge "the Cubo effect" when he's coming in at the 78th minute.
Coach Owen Coyle (3.5) - This game was not managed properly from the beginning and it seemed to get worse as the game went on from Coyle's use of subs. Alex Lima is not a good left back. Even though he had experience playing the position with Chicago, it was clear that his ability to track forward led to some casual defensive decisions which led to opportunities for the Rapids. I understand defensive options were limited given that Raul, Beasley, and Sarkodie were all injured, but that's why Taylor Hunter was called up to be available. Giles Barnes probably wasn't fit enough to play which could have been the perfect time to ask Cubo to suit up - or play Alex Lima higher up the field.
And then the substitutions happened. I understand the Miranda sub for Boniek one, and if anything it was a bit of a defensive upgrade, but Manotas coming on for Bruin while Barnes was playing ineffectively and Cubo was on the bench? Coyle underestimated this Rapids team that has recently come to life in a more attacking formation and he thought he could walk into Dick's Sporting Goods Park and get a result while keeping an eye on Saturday's matchup against Vancouver. The Dynamo have to play each game like it's their last because they all matter now.