The Houston Dynamo's playoff chances are gone.
You can thank me for stating the obvious.
It was a tough game for the Orange, as they fell to a fellow non-playoff club, the Union, by the score of 2-0 in a match that determined whether Dynamo fan's hearts will be broken now or later. Owen Coyle took my advice and went with a 4-3-3 (although not with the personnel I suggested), but it didn't exactly work out. The midfield was overwhelmed while the offense didn't create the amount of chances expected when you play a 4-3-3.
Most everyone was sloppy with and without the ball, not making any threatening runs or doing anything to test John McCarthy aside from set pieces. This forced Coyle to make a switch at halftime to a 4-2-3-1, which shored up the midfield. I would have put in Nathan Sturgis as a number-six to allow others full freedom to go forward, but all he did was switch out a hobbled Kofi Sarkodie in favor of Luis Garrido, putting Boniek Garcia at fullback in the process.
The new formation worked for about five minutes, but after that, the Union went into park the bus mode, which they happen to be very skilled at. No more real chances were created after that, securing a 2-0 win for the home side.
The defense looked pretty bad without DaMarcus Beasley or Raúl Rodríguez, letting Philadelphia waltz into the box whenever they wanted. The struggles started early when the Union put the Dynamo in a hole with a Tranquillo Barnetta goal in the third minute.
Let's see how it happened:
We start with a pass headed to Cristián Maidana off the foot of Sebastien Le Toux.
Sheanon Williams gets caught up field, leaving the defense without a left-back as the attack occurs.
Ricardo Clark (light blue line) should pressure Maidana and do his best to prevent a pass. Williams should run with Le Toux to stop the give and go from happening.
Maidana takes control and surveys his options. Le Toux sprints down the channel with his hand out, looking for a through ball from the Argentinian.
Look at the space circled. This can't happen if you're the Dynamo. Williams can't catch up to Le Toux, leaving Clark defending two players at once.
Le Toux runs down the pass and will see that his Union outnumber the Dynamo.
Barnetta and CJ Sapong run into the box ready for a cross. It's obvious that Houston wouldn't be able to adequately defend one if it came.
The cross goes to Barnetta, who takes a beautiful first touch around the defender and calmly slots it past a helpless Tyler Deric, who is left with absolutely zero chance at saving the shot.
This play wouldn't have happened had Williams not been caught up the field, and there's no way Barnetta could have gotten that wide open if Houston actually had numbers in the box.
Disappointing all around for the visitors.