1) This was a big win for a lot of reasons, but helped set the tone about the level of potential this club has. The win took new meaning against a physical Dallas side and helped get us 1 step closer to regaining El Capitán.
2) This game was all about the offense, but let's not take away from how disciplined the defense was. Quality shots by Dallas were very hard to come by as 58% of their total chances on goal came from outside the 18 yard box.
3) When the game is 5-0 the player ratings are really just nitpicking small criticisms and picking out individual achievements - I really can't complain about anything when the total performance was in by the team.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings:
Joe Willis (8) -Joe Willis was once again the man between the sticks for Houston as Tyler Deric sat for his 2nd game due to injury. It may have seemed like a quiet day for Willis as most of the action was happening on the other end of the field, but Willis quietly amassed 6 saves including a difficult double save where he stopped a header and then slid in to deny the next shot.
DaMarcus Beasley (7) -DMB was disciplined with how high up the field he needed to push and made 3 big tackles and intercepted 2 passes near the Dynamo 18 yard box preventing Dallas from earning an opportunity on goal. Beasley passed well out of the back, but did give the ball up a few too many times near the mid-line.
Raul Rodriguez (7) - Read the game extremely well, and was exceptional at stepping into passes as Rodriguez was able to intercept a game high 4 passes. The defense as a whole looked organized and frustrated FC Dallas into taking long and desperate shots in an attempt to get on the score sheet.
David Horst (8) - Despite Horst's size, strength, and aerial prowess he is not an exceptional scorer even though he is an ideal target for set piece plays as a center back. Horst has just 3 goals in his MLS career, and one of them came in this match against FC Dallas. Horst SMASHED a cross down into the ground which bounced through FCD goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez. Horst also had 2 big tackles, 2 blocked shots, and intercepted a pass along the Dynamo end line.
Jalil Anibaba (6.5) - Anibaba had a tackle in just about every 3rd of the field from the right side and was much stronger with his positioning than he was against the New England Revolution. Anibaba's passing still needs substantial improvement as only 2 players had worse passing ratings among all players on the field. This was likely due to him sending many long passes to set up counter attacks, but many of these passes were intercepted or went out of play. Still, Anibaba's positioning helped him intercept his own passes and recover the ball which halted FC Dallas from pushing for a goal.
Ricardo Clark (8) - Clark is still working up to being 90 minutes fit, but he showed an evolution from the first match with his hesitance moving higher up the field. This is key to prevent counter attacks with the number of attacking players on the field and is evident on Clark's goal. Clark comes onto the screen from the middle area of the field and he only moves up because he knows he can get a shot off and nobody else will reach the ball before him. His shot was perfectly placed and solidified the Dynamo's win. Clark rarely turned the ball over and helped keep the ball in dangerous areas of the field.
Alex Lima (7.5) - Alex has become a workhorse in central midfield and a menace for other teams. In his 2 games in central midfield he has collected 10 total tackles (5 per game) which is showing his level of intensity on the pitch. Against Dallas, Alex passed very well and in tight quarters while providing support to the Dynamo wingers.
Giles Barnes (6.5) - It was difficult to see Barnes exit the game in the 19th minute. He had proved dangerous along the right side and his pressure and run helped lead to Matt Hedges' own goal. But, as he tried to position himself with the ball around Hedges shortly after the own goal, he would end up pulling his right hamstring.
Cristian Maidana (7) - Like Barnes, Chaco was also forced to exit the game early following an extremely gruesome challenge by Maynor Figueroa which resulted in a bloody head injury. Chaco had connected well with the wingers around him and helped establish strong buildup play, but his own chances were fairly lacking (Note: nitpicking).
Andrew Wenger, MotM, (9.5) - Another game, another Man of the Match performance by newcomer Andrew Wenger. Wenger, who just earned a Player of the Week nod by MLS, was dominant on both sides of the ball. He was able to assist to Horst and Clark before finding the goal himself. Defensively, his work ethic and speed were apparent in 1 play in particular as Wenger was able to chase down the insanely quick Fabian Castillo and make a beautiful sliding challenge to clear the ball from under Castillo. Wenger's efforts on both ends of the field have been one of the major reasons to have optimism about this team. (Note: it's very difficult to earn a 10 in my ratings, but had he scored 1 more goal he would have been about as close as you can get).
Will Bruin (7.5) - Bruin passed well for a central forward and was able to hold up play and involve his teammates. Furthermore, he was able to get back and help defensively, which is crucial in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Bruin arguably should have earned a penalty kick late in the match, but he used his frustration to put the exclamation point on the game with the Dynamo's final goal. His goal featured a lovely scoop pass by Miranda and Bruin deftly maneuvered the ball around Gonzalez and finished from an incredibly tight angle.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (8) - Entered the match early for Giles Barnes in the 19th minute, Boniek played much of this half as a left winger, but would finish the game more centrally as Miranda would enter for Maidana. Boniek has looked more like his old explosive self this season. Boniek had the 3rd highest number of touches on the ball of Dynamo players, despite being a substitute, and he was able to only turn the ball over twice. Boniek was active defensively, notching 4 tackles, and will be a guarantee to start if Barnes or Maidana aren't fit to play against the Red Bulls.
Leonel Miranda (7.5) - Came on for Maidana just before halftime and primarily played as a left winger, but also switched sides with Andrew Wenger. Miranda opened up the field and helped the Dynamo wide play and was able to connect with Will Bruin on the final goal of the game.
David Rocha (7) - Substituted on for Ricardo Clark in the 77th minute and in a short time asserted his defensive presence. Rocha notched 4 tackles and an intercepted pass despite playing in the final minutes of the game. His passing was also perfect, though he only managed 15 total touches on the ball. The competition for spots at defensive midfield is heating up as Clark, Alex, and Rocha all showed well against FC Dallas.
Coach Owen Coyle (8.5) - Coyle was finally able to show off the brand of soccer that he wants to implement here in Houston. Attacking oriented, but with plenty of defensive cover which makes the audience ooh and aah. This win, which helped signify the departure from last year's identity, gained more importance due to it being a rival match. Dallas swept Coyle last year in embarrassing fashion so the win took on new meaning. Not only are we a better club this year, but we've taken the first steps in getting our cannon back from a top club.