1) This team must be afraid to gamble on the road because they sat in very deep for most of the match which allowed the LA Galaxy to create chance after chance to score. If the club wants to see success on the road, they'll have to do more than be hard to play against. They'll have to find ways to score and that means taking risks.
2) Was the Dynamo missing Will Bruin? Despite all of the criticism Bruin gets, he provides decent hold up service which allows the Dynamo to increase their time of possession in the opponent's half. Bruin was missing from this game as Barnes started as the CF, Wenger as a winger, and Cubo and Manotas both got substitution nods.
3) Defensive miscues by Horst were hard to watch. Horst handled a ball and later was caught not paying attention by Steven Gerrard's run which led to a goal. Is it time for a lineup shakeup defensively? I'd argue Agus has earned a right to start over Horst after this even though the Dynamo have been very good in the back in the Wade Barrett era.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings
Joe Willis (6) - Filled in for Tyler Deric who will be out for a few weeks due to injury. Willis filled in fairly capably as he made several saves to deny the talented LA Galaxy offense. On the penalty kick, Robbie Keane missed, but Willis guessed correctly on the side and looked to have it covered had the kick been on target. Willis did well to deny Keane on the play just before Steven Gerrard's goal, but the ball never was cleared. Overall, Willis did well, but he did not keep his back line very organized as they were broken down too often.
Sheanon Williams (4.5) - Filled in for DaMarcus Beasley who recently underwent a minor surgical operation, but he pushed over to the right fullback position which shifted Jalil Anibaba to LB. Williams did pretty well against Gyasi Zardes as the right side of the field was typically harder for LA to get through. Williams had 2 tackles and 2 intercepted passes, but he struggled to send in accurate crosses higher up the field.
David Horst (2) - Although Horst usually cleared the ball from danger well, he had several missteps in this game which were huge factors. He conceded the penalty by handling the ball and he was caught napping on the run by Steven Gerrard which led to the game's only goal.
Raul Rodriguez (4) - Like Horst, Rodriguez did well clearing the ball from the back and he passed pretty fairly accurately for a CB, but considering the opportunities LA had, Rodriguez didn't shine.
Jalil Anibaba (5) - Although Anibaba struggled a bit on the left side against Giovani Dos Santos and his marking at times was off, he was able to make several crucial defensive plays including 2 tackles and 4 intercepted passes. Anibaba was able to get forward at times and contribute some key passes, but his passing accuracy higher up the field was much poorer than in the defensive half of the field.
Ricardo Clark (6) - Clark the last few games hasn't looked quite as dominate in his ability to push higher up the field, but the team as a whole hasn't either - specifically on road games, but defensively Clark is still capable of making plays evidenced by his tackling and ability to recover the ball all over central midfield.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (5) - Boniek on the offensive side of the ball was pretty good as he passed extremely accurately (over 90%) in tight spaces and provided several key passes that led to opportunities for the Dynamo. Defensively, Boniek was often too far up the field and put a lot of pressure on Anibaba.
Collen Warner (5) - Warner intercepted passes well and distributed the ball through to the offense accurately for a CM, but his marking at times wasn't great and he stayed back a little too often never really pushing up beyond the center circle.
Alex, MotM, (7) - Alex was by far the Man of the Match as he contributed the most on both sides of the ball. Alex had a team high 6 tackles while covering nearly every blade of grass. He passed well which led to scoring opportunities and he had 2 shots on target, more than any player on the field.
Andrew Wenger (4.5) - Didn't really see too many touches considering Wenger had 81 minutes under his belt. Defensively, Wenger supported his old Philadelphia Union teammate Sheanon Williams by dropping back and recovering the ball. Offensively, Wenger simply wasn't that involved.
Giles Barnes (5.5) - Although I'm not a fan of Barnes as the lone center forward on this team, Barnes was able to have some chances, typically coming from counter attacks where his speed is a big advantage over his opponents. Barnes was able to earn plenty of corners by taking defenders on and he had 6 shots, the most of any Dynamo player, but only 1 was on target. His only shot on target came from a breakaway where he moved through opponents easily, one even slipped, but his final touch was heavy and his shot was sent directly to goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
Cristian Maidana (5) - Delivered some quality service when he came on for Boniek Garcia in the 62nd minute, but it wasn't enough to break through the Galaxy defense.
Erick Torres (N/A) - Cubo made an appearance for the Dynamo as he came on for Andrew Wenger in the 81st minute. Cubo saw a few touches and even had a shot on target, but there really wasn't enough touches to give him a fair rating.
Mauro Manotas (N/A) - Mauro Manotas entered the match for Sheanon Williams in the 86th minute, but Manotas only saw 3 touches on the ball.
Coach Wade Barrett (4) - This is a frustrating team at times because it's capable of playing much better. Defensively the team is quite good, though it does have the tendency to switch off every so often which allows opponents opportunities to steal points. Since Barrett has taken over the team has only allowed 6 goals in 7 games which is outstanding defensive work. In that same time the team has only scored 5 goals.
This team is capable of scoring high volumes of goals, something we saw early in the season, and has a multitude of options up top including: Giles Barnes, Will Bruin, Mauro Manotas, Cubo Torres, and Andrew Wenger (to name a few). Finding the right combination is part of the equation, but the other is tactics. The team sits too deep on the road and can't press opponents which hurts their chances of creating breakaways. The beauty of Barrett's 4-1-4-1 formation is that it allows for increased pressure in advanced areas of the field without giving up too much. But, it appears we're too timid, intimidated, or simply scared to lose on the road that we defend too deep and let opponents pen us in our own half.