It’s pretty impossible to start any Houston sports article today without first congradulating the Houston Astros on an incredible World Series win over the LA Dodgers. That series was a roller coaster, but the Astros brought the franchise’s first World Series trophy to the city of Houston so again, congrats for the amazing ride and we’re hoping to see the Astros in many more World Series games.
The Houston Dynamo had a postseason game of their own this past Monday which resulted in a 0-0 draw with the Portland Timbers. As I described in the accompanying piece for the Player Ratings this was a pretty fair result. Both sides had some good looks on goal, but were unable to finish their chances and both sides had cries for a penalty with neither side being able to take the free kick from the spot. The turf was another issue that impacted both sides, but there wasn’t too much the Dynamo grounds keeping crew can do with so many games played in a short span of time.
The ratings overall are pretty identical to how I had everybody. I may have had more players as 6’s than 7’s, but generally it was a pretty average game and no single player stood head and shoulders above any other – including Timbers players.
The Top Performers:
SUB: Vicente Sanchez, Man of the Match, (7.4) – I was recently asked on Daniel Feuerstein’s online radio show, Feuerstein’s Fire, who would be the X factor for the Dynamo in the next leg of the playoffs and I said that it would be a 37 year old coming off the bench named Vicente Sanchez. He reads the game so well, is incredibly respected that players will go out of their way to put him over the ball, and his quick passing and moving is what the Dynamo will need to break down a tough Timbers defense at home. There’s an argument that he should start at center forward over Cubo Torres and Mauro Manotas to help the Dynamo get the much needed away goal. Either way, in the 0-0 draw Sanchez brought his usual energy off the bench which unfortunately didn’t see the Dynamo get a goal, but it was encouraging.
DaMarcus Beasley (7.3) – In a game that had just 4 combined shots on target with no goals, the defenses definitely came up big. The Dynamo defense was able to keep Portland off the score sheet preventing them from grabbing an away goal and a big reason for that is because of DMB. Beasley was very good at shutting down the left side of the field as he totaled 3 tackles and 2 intercepted passes, but he was also accurate at distributing the ball passing with over 90% accuracy as he pushed the ball up the field.
Philippe Senderos (7.1) – Senderos was the Houston Dynamo’s player of the game after the match and it’s easy to understand why. He hasn’t had a lot of minutes with the Dynamo and he’s been injury prone during his short time with the club. He started the game for the injured Leonardo and played the full 90 not too much longer than going 120 minutes against Sporting Kansas City. Senderos has been far from perfect, but this game saw his distribution improve out of the back and an increased awareness with the speedy Darren Mattocks and the masterful Diego Valeri. Again, not perfect, but we saw some of his awareness when he helped block and clear a crucial ball right in front of our goal.
Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera (7.1) – I think Cabrera put out a very strong starting XI coming into this match. He made a few changes including starting Romell Quioto over Alex, Mauro Manotas over Cubo, and Eric Alexander over Clark. The defense had holes with A. J. DeLaGarza and Leonardo out and he plugged in Jalil Anibaba and Philippe Senderos respectfully. The defense looked porous at times with Valeri somehow finding lanes to pass the ball through, but shots were either missed or the defense was able to come up with a play to keep the ball out of the net. The Dynamo offense had its own opportunities, but struggled to find room to shoot against a well organized Portland defense. I think bringing on Sanchez was a very smart tactical decision, but shifting him over when Alex came on not too long after took touches away from our own maestro and that hurt our ability to create chances down the stretch.
The Rest of the Starters:
GK: Tyler Deric (7.1)
DEF: Adolfo Machado (6.9)
DEF: Jalil Anibaba (6.3)
MID: Juan David Cabezas (6.6)
MID: Tomas Martinez (7)
MID: Eric Alexander (7)
FW: Romell Quioto (6.4)
FW: Mauro Manotas (6)
FW: Alberth Elis (6.6)
MID: Alex Lima (6.3)
FW: Eric “Cubo” Torres (4.9)