1) I think that Barrett's decision to use the 4-1-4-1 was a poor decision. Yes, the team supported players higher up the field more than they had in the past, but it clearly wasn't enough. I understand the reasoning to go back to the 4-1-4-1 as forward depth is lacking with Giles Barnes gone and Erick Torres with the Olympic team, but there are options in Mauro Manotas, Andrew Wenger, and Will Bruin. If something happens they can always revert to the 4-1-4-1.
2) The goal that we gave up was awful. Poor defending by our center backs and an even worse turnover in midfield by newly acquired player Eric Alexander which Dynamo Theory writer Harrison Hamm brilliantly broke down here.
3) The Dynamo started each half with a lot of energy and pressure, but slowly fell back as they sat in and let Montreal back in the game.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings
Joe Willis (6) - Willis had a number of saves to prevent the Montreal Impact from scoring until he finally conceded one in the 76th minute. Willis actually covered his net well on the play choosing to be slightly closer to the near post of Mattero Mancosu because Jalil Anibaba and David Horst were in front of his angle to hit it back post (which is where he scored). I can't fault Willis on the play given the poor turnover earlier and the poor guarding by both of our center backs.
Sheanon Williams (4) - It was a fairly average day for Sheanon Williams who didn't contribute too much on the defensive end, although he did have a fantastic sliding challenge to deny Mancuso inside the 6 yard box. Williams was pretty good at getting higher up the pitch and even contributed a few key passes to players for scoring opportunities.
David Horst (4) - Defensively Horst held it down with one exception. He made a pair of tackles, intercepted 3 passes, and blocked a shot inside the 18 yard box. However, his one mistake, or poor marking, allowed the lone goal of the game. Horst passed the ball well and even had a headed effort on target.
Jalil Anibaba (3) - The last few games that Anibaba has slotted into the center back role he's performed above the expectations of many. This game he may have come back down to Earth as it was his, along with Horst's, poor defense against Mancuso that ultimately downed the Dynamo. Apart from the play Anibaba stayed closer to home than Horst, who is a set piece target, and largely held a clear first mentality.
Abdoulie Mansally (4.5) - Mansally recovered the ball very well in our half of the field, but it was his offensive skill set that nearly saw the Dynamo equalize. Mansally made a great run down the side of the field and forced Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush to tip the ball over the top of the bar and out for a corner kick.
Collen Warner (6.5) - Warner responded well to having an off night last week against the San Jose Earthquakes. He moved the ball well passing with over 87% accuracy while holding things down on the defensive end. Warner recovered the ball well, stole it from opposition repeatedly, and showed urgency inside our box by clearing the ball to safety.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (6) - Boniek had one of his better defensive games as he recovered the ball and stole it from opponents very well. Offensively Boniek passed the ball accurately and was able to help possess the ball in the final 3rd of the field. He had one great shot that just missed the mark following a brilliant run by Andrew Wenger.
Cristian Maidana (5.5) - Chaco Maidana was slotted into his favored central playmaking role and had certainly played the part as he had 97 total touches (for context Boniek came in 2nd with 69) while passing the ball with just under 80% accuracy which is fair for a CM. Maidana had several great key passes, many of which were through balls, but for a central playmaker many of his passes and movements didn't get too high up the field. Chaco's defensive efforts also were lacking in this match.
Ricardo Clark (6.5) - Unfortunately in this match Clark went off early in the 2nd half with an injury to his groin which could keep him out of action for a little while. However, before his early exit Clark showed a lot of his old self with a pair of tackles and 3 intercepted passes. As he got higher up the pitch he contributed to plays such as Boniek's curled effort that went just wide of the goal.
Andrew Wenger, MotM, (6.5) - Wenger was not the best passer on the field, although he was far from bad, and he wasn't the best offensive player having only a single shot on target. But his defensive effort set him apart as he had 4 tackles to go along with 2 intercepted passes. He recovered the ball very well in our own half which helped quickly counter against the Impact.
Will Bruin (5.5) - In the past, Bruin has not done well in a 4-1-4-1 or as a lone forward in general, but the reason is largely due to a lack of support. Bruin finally looked involved as he had some of the best chances on goal, some of which were created through individual effort rather than through build up play by the team. Bruin failed to find the net, but he found chances which can go a long way to restoring confidence in a forward.
Eric Alexander (2.5) - Entered the match for the injured Ricardo Clark in the 54th minute and it wasn't exactly the start in Orange that Alexander would've liked. Although Alexander passed the ball very well, it was his unfortunate give away in midfield that led to the game's only goal - and it was a bad give away at that.
Mauro Manotas (4.5) - It's not that Manotas did anything wrong when he came on for Andrew Wenger in the 74th minute, it's that he didn't do much of anything. Momentum had swung back to Montreal, but Manotas didn't see many touches, didn't do much with the touches he had, and his runs didn't look as good as we're used to. Hopefully we see more from Manotas soon, but one that's more involved.
Rob Lovejoy (N/A) - It was good to see Rob Lovejoy back in action for the Dynamo, even in a cameo role as he came on for Boniek in the 85th minute. Lovejoy only had 3 touches and 1 pass (that he completed) so it isn't fair to give him a rating.
Coach Wade Barrett (4) - Another game, more points left on the table. I don't think the 4-1-4-1 was the best option for Barrett to use in this game, but I will say that the formation looked much livelier in the offense for stretches than it has since Barrett's appointment to interim head coach. The team came out strong to start each half but, predictably, fell into their habit of letting opponents come back at them. A single mistake gave Montreal 3 points, but the squad's offense couldn't support the defense. Could a simple formation change start the Dynamo scoring engine? We know that this unit is capable of scoring a wild amount of goals as we saw that early in the year, but that came at the expense of the defense. Now it seems like opposite is true - too much invested on the defensive end and not enough support is given to our forwards.