Facing an Orlando City team that had just let go of its coach and was coming off one of the worst team performances in MLS this season, the Houston Dynamo had no excuse not to win this game. Sitting on the bottom of the Western Conference, the Dynamo need wins, and at this point in the season, they have to take advantage of these opportunities.
Instead, they settled for an excruciatingly boring 0-0 draw. At least they can say they aren't the worst team in the West anymore.
This was not a popular game:
To put it in social media terms, if this game was a Facebook post, it would have very few likes. #ORLvHOU— The Mane Land (@TheManeLand) July 9, 2016
The Mane Land is right. This was a pretty bad game. Of course, this kind of result was somewhat predictable given the fact that this was a matchup of two interim head coaches, and that Kaka was injured. But still, this rivals the Dynamo's loss in Columbus a couple months ago in terms of drabness. At least that game a red card, a penalty, and a goal.
One of the main reasons for the dreary nature of the match — which, by the way, was made drearier by Ramses Sandoval's unlistenable and overall horrible commentary (I listened to the Spanish broadcast, and I don't speak Spanish) — was the lack of any sort of skill in the final third.
The teams combined for just four shots on target despite plenty of opportunities. Players from both clubs were completely inept at making good decisions in goal-scoring opportunities, and nobody seemed willing to be creative. That sort of changed in the final three minutes of the game, but this shot chart was still produced:
This is a problem the Dynamo have experienced multiple other times this season. If it doesn't get fixed, they won't improve their standing all that much.
The recent talk has been about the Dynamo's attack — or lack thereof — but their defense deserves some credit. The backline has allowed more than one goal in a game just once in MLS play since the beginning of May, and that one game — against Portland on June 26 — included two penalty-kicks.
Also, there's this:
In the last two games, the Dynamo have given up three on-target shots.— Corey Roepken (@RipSports) July 9, 2016
It's time to support them.
3. The Captain
Wade Barrett decided to make DaMarcus Beasley the captain instead of Giles Barnes recently and it has paid off. Beasley has played the best he has in a long time, providing consistent overlapping runs and playing stout 1v1 defense. He has been one of the major reasons for the defense's recent success.
He went off injured against Orlando City with an apparent knee injury. If he were to miss extended time, it would be a huge loss for the Dynamo. He's been a catalyst for their marked improvements since Barrett took over, so without his veteran leadership, their chances of making the most out of a lost MLS campaign would go down.