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Dynamo Film Session: Breakaways galore at Sporting Park

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The 1-1 draw between the Dynamo and Sporting KC played more in the favor of visiting Houston, but when you look back at two breakaway chances they had that went away, you may think differently.

Will Bruin had two breakaway opportunities, but was unable to convert on either.
Will Bruin had two breakaway opportunities, but was unable to convert on either.
John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The rivalry game between the Houston Dynamo and Sporting KC featured elements of a match in which the teams clearly don't like each other, from the minor shoving battle between Tyler Deric and Dom Dwyer to Nathan Sturgis's straight-red for a reckless challenge late.

This is exactly what you would expect from a Dynamo-Sporting contest.

But of course, what you expect isn't always what you get with these two.

In a week of unusually-high scoring in MLS which saw scores like 6-4, 5-2, 3-2, two 3-1s, and 3-0, the match between two clubs that produced a 4-4 thriller earlier this season only came up with two combined goals.

There were reasons for that: Both keepers had good games, referee Jorge Gonzalez may have missed a couple calls that could've resulted in goals, and the teams fired a combined seven shots wide of the target. But most of all, it was the chances missed, or, more specifically, the breakaways missed.

Houston's Will Bruin had two bona-fide breakaways, and Sporting's Roger Espinoza had another.

In the second installment of Dynamo Film Session, we take an in-depth look at the Dynamo's opportunities that could have altered the game had they been converted on them.

We start with Bruin's first break, coming in the 11th-minute. It came as a result of two things: Bruin's ability to make smart runs and split the center-backs as well as Sporting KC's early press, which opened the door for a long ball.

Before the striker even comes into the picture we see the ball in the air coming from the back.

You can get a good look at KC's 4-2-3-1 formation in this picture. You see that the two defensive midfielders (circled in gray) are past the middle as well as the three other mids (light blue) are in a line with each other and the single striker (yellow) is ahead of them. They are pressed forward and therefore vulnerable to a ball over-the-top.

As the ball moves down the field, Bruin and the backline enters the picture. Sporting's defense is near the midfield line, leaving them, like the rest of the squad, open to a ball through.

Bruin makes a very nice run through the middle, splitting center-backs Matt Besler and Kevin Ellis perfectly. The ball is also flawless, and looks to be, at the moment, just in the right spot for the American to run on to.

Now the ball is passed everybody and right where Bruin needs it to be. The two CBs have no shot at getting to Bruin thanks to their failure to mark him adequately, leaving him all alone.

Circled in red and green on the two wings are the spots where the fullbacks would have been had they not pressed. This takes away two other presumably-speedy players that could've been pursuing Bruin.

He gains control of the ball and enters in on keeper Tim Melia. Bruin would be unable to get a shot off because of Melia's dive on the ball.

Should it have been a penalty? Probably not, because Melia got ball first and was clearly going for that rather than Bruin's legs. That's just my opinion. We'll have to watch this week's edition of Instant Replay to find out whether it was a good no-call or not

On a different note, this breakaway is more about Bruin and the Dynamo than it is about Sporting KC's defense. It was a smart run by the striker but not as good a finish.

The second breakaway also came on a long through ball to Bruin, but this one played out much differently.

Again, we start with Bruin out of the picture. Instead, we see right back Sheanon Williams taking possession just behind the midfield line. He looks to be setting up for a kick, as you can tell that he has his head up, presumably seeing his eventual target beginning another run.

Williams makes the pass, and it's a good one. Like the last one, Bruin has plenty of room to run onto it, exactly what you want in a pass like this.

In this instance, the receiver doesn't have as clear a path to the goal, so other Dynamo players should be giving him support from behind.

He does have room to run on to it, however, he over runs it, forcing him stop and look over his options. He would probably rather try and barrel through the defenders into the box (possibly getting a better shot or even drawing a penalty) but by stopping, he's forced to wait for options.

Brad Davis (bottom, 11) is sprinting towards Bruin, trying to give him a passing lane. No other Dynamo players are making a run of some sort. In fact, no others are in the picture.

Bruin lays it off, giving Davis a chance to run on to it. Once he got there, he shot it one-time on his left foot, driving low to Melia's right.

The keeper would stretch to make an impressive save on Davis's heavy shot, again robbing the Dynamo of a goal that, at the time, would have knotted the score at one.

You can see the first play here and the second play here.

(Note: all photos from mlssoccer.com (linked above) and Sporting KC's local TV station)