The Houston Dynamo have played in 14 competitive games this season ending in scores of 0-0, 1-0, or 1-1. Which equals to 56% of their total matches. They've had six straight scorelines of that nature, and, if it matters at all, nine of those 14 have taken place under Wade Barrett. 13 of them were in MLS action; the one that wasn't was the 1-0 loss to FC Dallas in the USOC a couple weeks ago.
The Dynamo play good defense. They also have the least creativity of any team in MLS. That makes for what we can generously call uneventful games.
For Dynamo fans, it's better than what was happening late in the Owen Coyle era, which was a complete lack of a style of play or that thing called "tactics". They used to run around aimlessly and put balls in the net — on both sides of the field — and that was why we saw 3-3 and 4-3 scorelines. Now, they've found organization and strategy and (sort of) an identity, although they don't have the personnel to really do much in terms of offense yet.
That will come as the rebuild continues.
1. Defensive injuries
The Dynamo are currently facing sort of an injury crisis on their backline. Not that it's going to effect their playoff chase or anything, but it is a problem. Agus, DaMarcus Beasley, and Raul Rodriguez were all injured for the Quakes game, meaning Jalil Anibaba was forced to start at center back, and that not a single actual defender was on the bench.
At this point, I think it's time to call up a young defender from the USL. Bradley Bourgois, or Taylor Hunter, or Ivan Magalhaes are all 22, and are ripe for an MLS opportunity. It's a lost season, so why not give some RGVFC players some quality experience?
One problem they have been facing since Beasley went down has been width, and their ability to generate pressure from the touchlines. Boniek Garcia has never been one to do that without help, and Cristian Maidana will spend more time centrally in order to try and pick out passes. Abdoulie Mansally and Sheanon Williams are capable overlappers — Mansally started his career as a forward — but they don't provide the same incisiveness and passing ability that Beasley does.
Other than whipping low-percentage crosses into the box and hoping for the best, they haven't been able to get much going on the wings. That shows the importance of Beasley, and how much they rely on him.
Will Bruin is not, I don't think, the long-term answer at striker for the Dynamo. He's not a target forward — not a clinical finisher, he doesn't hold-up play — he isn't fast enough to split defenders and win races to the ball, he won't drop deep and help in possession because he's a below-average passer, and he has a tendency to get stranded up top and not have much of an impact on the game.
He's good for 10-12 goals a season thanks to his opportunism and heading ability, but aside from that, I don't think he provides much else. Mauro Manotas needs to be given a start at some point, because he has some real potential.