1) Mauro Manotas did very well in this one (duh), but a big shout out should go to how the team handled how it ran its offense which scored all 3 of its goals from breakaway plays (okay 1 was a PK, but it began with a turnover that led to the correct penalty decision). That's something that has been needed for awhile as the team typically sits in either early or after taking a lead which allows opponents to dominate possession and chances. That wasn't the case against Portland.
2) Although the Dynamo finished the first half strong 1-0 by continuing to pressure, they started the 2nd a little flat and they sat in a little too much which allowed Portland to equalize the game. The Dynamo responded well to that, but the team still needs to eliminate this tendency.
Houston Dynamo Player Ratings
Joe Willis (6) - Willis was rarely tested in this fixture as only 2 of Portland's shots were on target and one of those went in. On the only goal the Dynamo suffered, Willis was alert to the play following a poor turnover. He perhaps could have closed space on Darren Mattocks, but he chose to close the angle and stand up to the shot. Mattocks's shot ricocheted off the post and fell to Diego Valeri who put the ball away. Overall it was pretty unlucky for the Dynamo to let one in and you certainly can't fault Willis.
Sheanon Williams (5) - Generally sound defensively, Williams provided a few defensive plays including 2 tackles and a pretty necessary clearance outside the 6 yard box. Williams didn't get into the offense too often, but that's largely due to the midfield stepping up its pressure and starting the offense higher up the field.
Jalil Anibaba (5.5) - Center back Anibaba is very different than full back as his vision, passing, and tackling all seem to improve the further away he is from the touchline. Apart from what is likely a penalty that he could have been called for, Anibaba did well to intercept passes and distribute the ball from the back.
Raul Rodriguez (4) - Rodriguez recovered the ball generally well in the back, but was one of the culprits for allowing the only goal against the Dynamo. Rodriguez looked like he meant to make a play on Mattock and his run rather than the ball which led to him slipping and creating the chance and goal for Portland.
DaMarcus Beasley (5.5) - Defensively, Beasley had less to do than the Dynamo typically demand from the USMNT veteran, but he still recovered the ball and blocked a tough angle shot near the 6 yard box. Offensively, DMB pushed the ball up the field while passing well for a fullback in those areas of the field.
Collen Warner (6.5) - Warner distributed the ball fantastically out of central midfield passing with over 93% accuracy and he was able to tackle effectively from the center of the park as well. However, the play of the night for Warner was him stepping to a ball just inside Portland's 18 yard box and earning the Dynamo a penalty (their first of the year).
Ricardo Clark (6.5) - Clark lined up in his more traditional position of DCM, although with a partner in Warner, and he intercepted pass after pass. It reminded me of Luis Garrido and Clark's pairing as Warner's tackling combined with Clark's vision made things tidy in the defensive midfield section of the field.
Alex Lima (5.5) - Alex deserved a goal, but it just wasn't happening for him in this one. Alex devoted a lot of effort on the offensive side of the field taking 6 shots, but had none on target. It felt like he was in his own head at times when he was near the goal as his shots and dribbling just didn't feel as natural as they had in the past.
Oscar Boniek Garcia (6.5) - Who says we need a playmaker? Boniek has performed extremely well this year in the assist department as he set up Manotas's 2nd goal perfectly which went through ha defender's legs to the forward. Boniek played aggressively winning the ball in key areas of the field and he passed at a high level as well.
Andrew Wenger (5.5) - Typically when discussing Wenger's performances we focus on the defensive side of the ball, and today isn't too different. Wenger provided plenty of support on the right side of the field while making crucial runs which helped spread the field.
Mauro Manotas, MotM, (9) - A hat trick lends itself to a nearly perfect score. So why wasn't Manotas a perfect 10? Because he could have had more! Manotas played very well notching 5 shots on target out of 6 (with 3 of those going in the back of the net). What's most exciting about Manotas is that he still has room to improve. His hold up play and strength need work, but his passing, runs, and shooting (along with his courage to take certain shots) are all very good. The kid can get better than he is and we should all feel excited about that.
Cristian Maidana (7) - While probably not happy to play substitute, Maidana, who came on for Andrew Wenger in the 70th minute, added another level of creativity to the Dynamo attack as he passed nearly flawlessly and provided 4 key passes which included a long through ball assist to Mauro Manotas which completed his hat-trick.
Eric Alexander (N/A) - Came on for Collen Warner in the 85th and didn't provide too much other than a tackle in central midfield.
Will Bruin (N/A) - Bruin, the last Dynamo player to have a hat-trick prior to this match, entered for Manotas - the most recent Dynamo player to have a hat-trick in the 89th minute and didn't see enough action for a fair grade.
Coach Wade Barrett (6.5) - This was a great result for Barrett who has the club playing better offensively which has been a major point of criticism towards him since he took over managerial duties. The Dynamo did several things right in this game and the first is they took control of the game, scored, and kept pressure in the first half. They also responded brilliantly to Portland's equalizer and never stopped pressuring after their goal. The team still fell into old habits when the 2nd half began as they looked a little out of sorts with passing and positioning, which helped Portland equalize, but they more than made up for it at the end of the day.