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Houston Dynamo 0, Seattle Sounders FC 2: Rate the Players and Quick Thoughts

How do you think the Dynamo players performed in their 0-2 loss to the Seattle Sounders in Leg 1 of the WCF

MLS: Western Conference Championship-Seattle Sounders at Houston Dynamo Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

At the beginning of the year I introduced a new way for the Dynamo Theory community to be a part of Player Ratings. After matches everyone will get a chance to submit how each player did on a scale of 1 to 10 which will be averaged out in a later article usually on Tuesday mornings depending when the game takes place. These ratings are interesting because we all view how players perform differently. Rating websites like view things from an analytical perspective, but a statistic, even one as big as a goal, doesn’t quite tell the entire story as some goals are bigger and more important to a game than others. I think seeing how we as a community feel can create fun conversations. Of course, how we feel individually matters as well so please comment about player performances as you wish in the comments.

Quick Thoughts about the Game:

1) The Houston Dynamo were defeated 2-0 in the first leg of the Conference Finals by the Seattle Sounders. Apart from an early opportunity for Alberth Elis, the energy was lacking for the home team. Simply put, it didn’t look like the Dynamo came out to play and the Sounders executed their game plan relatively easily. Going down a goal and then a man doesn’t do a team any favors trying to get to the MLS Cup. The penalty and red card were correct decisions and highlights of some of the sloppy plays by Houston which gifted Seattle chances to get in front and stay there.

2) The response from the Dynamo going down a goal this season has generally been good and I think that there were some quality chances and plays by Houston after going down both a goal and a man in this one. For starters, Joe Willis came up with a huge save when he denied Nicolas Lodeiro from the penalty spot to keep the Dynamo within a goals reach. Even though Will Bruin would go onto score a second for the Sounders, that save makes competing in Seattle much easier. On the offensive side, Mauro Manotas went 1v1 with the keeper, but his shot went high and wide. Dylan Remick also sent in a quality cross, but Manotas and Tomas Martinez were not on the same page and both tried to go for it which made a tap in stay out of the net. It was far from perfect, but the team attacked and sent numbers up the field well while keeping Seattle from pushing for more goals as the visitors sat back and absorbed pressure from the Dynamo.

3) The goals allowed by the Dynamo were not pretty. On the opening goal, Eric Alexander is caught way out of position on his man which put the Sounders up early. The second goal saw Joevin Jones, completely unmarked, send in an inch perfect pass to Will Bruin to head home. Bruin was also not marked with Leonardo caught ball watching and DaMarcus Beasley behind the former Dynamo player. If the cross were contested by Alberth Elis or a defender, then it may not have been as perfect for Bruin. Likewise, if Bruin were marked closer, maybe the cross doesn’t come in at all. These two goals just highlight how unprepared the Dynamo were for this game compared to their opponents. Was it the extended break that broke their momentum? Did they get into their own heads? Did Wilmer Cabrera put out the wrong personnel or have the wrong game plan? Possibly all of the above.

4) Because of how this game ended, it will be an uphill battle for the Houston Dynamo going into Seattle for the second leg. Obviously, it could have been a worse result – possibly 3-0 if the penalty went in, so I do want to say holding Seattle to just one goal after going down a man was very good by the guys in Oranage. Finishing could have helped too, but it’s too late and now the Dynamo have to come out strong in Seattle and win by at least two goals to take the game into extra time.

Another wrinkle to all of this is suspensions. Seattle will be without Roman Torres, but they may have reinforcements coming in the form of Osvaldo Alonso and Jordan Morris. Houston on the other hand will be without forward Alberth Elis and defender Jalil Anibaba. Elis is the big blow here as his pace and ability to take on defenders has helped Houston a lot, especially in the last few games. I would anticipate either Vicente Sanchez to get the start for Elis or having Alex shift over with Romell Quioto starting on the other side. Anibaba was a substitute for the injured A.J. DeLaGarza and losing him hurts a bit because until the Seattle match, he had played well. Depending on the injury to Philippe Senderos, we could see Adolfo Machado at RB, a position he plays with the Panamanian National Team, Kevin Garcia, or possibly Dylan Remick.

Rate the Players: