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Playoff Edition Player Ratings: Houston Dynamo vs. Sporting Kansas City

See how the Houston Dynamo players performed in their 1-0 playoff win over rivals Sporting Kansas City

MLS: Western Conference Knockout Round-Sporting KC at Houston Dynamo John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo were able to come up with their first playoff victory since 2013 back when they came up with a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls in an extra time period thanks to Omar Cummings goal. This time it was Alberth Elis who came up with the goal in the extra time period thanks to a Vicente Sanchez assist. It was a back and forth match throughout the evening with both sides not being able to break down the opposing side’s defense, but late adjustments by Wilmer Cabrera were the right ones and those adjustments saw his side victorious over Peter Vermes.

The ratings overall very much mirror how I saw the player performances. To me, Sanchez was 100% the Man of the Match with Elis behind in 2nd. I would have had Romell Quioto as a possible runner up, but I thought DaMarcus Beasley did a great job defensively so I’m comfortable with him as a Top Performer.

The Top Performers:

Vicente Sanchez, Man of the Match, (8.9) – There isn’t much more to say that hasn’t already been said about Vicente Sanchez and the incredible work ethic, finesse, and vision he brings. He fights tooth and nail for every ball, and when he’s over the ball he’s already setting someone up for a goal scoring opportunity from midfield. His assist was that in a nutshell. He took a pass and went head-to-head against Jimmy Medranda, who had pestered the Dynamo with 12 tackles on the night, and took him to town. His pace and touch took him around the defender while keeping the ball in play he put in a perfect pass to Elis who slotted home the game winner. Sanchez drew a penalty late in the game and even though he missed it, it didn’t matter. He stole time off the clock and helped win the game.

Alberth Elis (8.5) – We know what Alberth Elis brings to the table and that’s speed and a knack for scoring goals. He wants the ball at his feet (unless it’s off a free kick and then he’s fine with one in the air to head in) so he can run at the heart of the defense. He did this in this game. It wasn’t always pretty, he didn’t always have support, but as the game opened up with Quioto and Sanchez coming on, Elis suddenly found plenty of room to run and feast. His goal wasn’t pretty by any measure. He took too long to shoot, he didn’t have the prettiest of touches from Sanchez’s pass, but the result is all that counts and he slotted it into the bottom right corner of the goal.

DaMarcus Beasley (8.2) – Beasley was one of the best defenders out there in the game. I’d argue Medranda was the best defender, but Beasley did well in his own right. He had a pair of tackles and intercepted passes that were key and he led our team in clearances which helped keep the ball away from our goal. Beasley was also active pushing up the field and he had one good attempt to score and he was prone to play long passes out of the back which fits our style of play. He found more success with those after Romell Quioto entered the game.

Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera (6.4) – This was a bit of an odd lineup choice to start a playoff match. Alex on the wing over Romell Quioto felt off, especially given Alex’s recent form. Mauro Manotas was also not starting over Cubo Torres, but that’s another debate for another day. The back line was especially confusing in the aftermath of A.J. DeLaGarza’s injury. Instead of inserting Jalil Anibaba, he broke up a strong CB duo in Leonardo and Adolfo Machdo to push Machado over to RB, his position with the Panamanian National Team, and put in Philippe Senderos at CB. The result ended up working out in the end, but it showed a lack of confidence in his bench players, Anibaba in particular. His use of subs, Sanchez and Quioto, worked brilliantly, but one or both should have started given their impact on the outcome of the game. I think Cabrera made some errors with his choices initially, but he corrected them and it helped win the game.

The Rest of the Starters:

GK: Tyler Deric (7.7)

DEF: Leonardo (5.7)

DEF: Philippe Senderos (6.8)

DEF: Adolfo Machado (6.9)

MID: Juan David Cabezas (7.2)

MID: Tomas Martinez (6.6)

MID: Ricardo Clark (6.7)

FW: Alex Lima (5.8)

FW: Erick “Cubo” Torres (5.6)

The Subs:

DEF: Jalil Anibaba (6.8)

FW: Romell Quioto (7.4)

MID: Eric Alexander (6.9)