In our 2nd week of Rate the Players we saw the same few players in the Top Performers category, but most players moved upwards compared to their week 1 scores as a better score should do that. I also added in my thoughts and the score of the head coach which was suggested by catalyst13.
The Top Performers:
Erick “Cubo” Torres, Man of the Match, (8.3) – Cubo had arguably his best game as a Dynamo player this past week with the next best match being match before against the Seattle Sounders. Clearly this year is better than last and a huge reason for that is the support that Wilmer Cabrera has shown him. Cubo looks fitter than last season, he’s aggressive, and most importantly he has produced goals in both games this season. Cabrera understands what it takes to get Cubo motivated and focused and he’s put him in a system that’s working well for our offense.
Against Crew SC Cubo controlled a perfect long pass from Alex and dribbled in the box against his defender, created space to shoot, and curled in a beauty into the corner of the net from the top of the 18 yard box. The effort was good enough to earn him a nomination for MLS Goal of the Week (and by the way, Romell Quioto won the GotW last week). Throughout the night Cubo was able to apply pressure and get himself and his teammates in good positions to shoot which also saw Cubo given a MLS Team of the Week nod for his total performance against Crew SC.
This is what we want to see from Cubo this season. He’s willing to share the ball, be greedy when he needs to, and is challenging defenders who have possession of the ball. Perhaps most stunning is the way that he’s scoring goals this year. When Cubo was at his best with the now defunct Chivas USA side, he was more of a poacher type of scorer, but so far he’s scored a set piece goal and a brilliant curled shot from the top of the box. It’s still early to predict how the team or players will do for the rest of the season, but Cubo Torres is making sure that Dynamo fans think this season could be special.
Romell Quioto (8.3) – Once again Romell Quioto earns a top spot and it should come as no surprise why. Last week when Quioto was chosen as the Man of the Match in the last ratings I discussed the kind of forward that he is and that’s someone that’s incredibly gifted at putting themselves in the position to be in the right place at the right time. He proved that again by intercepting a poor pass by Crew SC goalkeeper Zach Steffen and slotting the ball between Steffen’s legs and into the net just after the 1 minute mark. Now, I’ve heard some say that this goal was more on Steffen, and that’s not an incorrect opinion – the pass was lazy and not thought out. But, if you look closely at Quioto before he steals the ball, it looks like Quioto is guarding a pass against a different player. Essentially Quioto wanted Steffen to believe there was a safe pass through the middle when really there wasn’t and is really quite a way to get a goal. The other thing about it was how early it happened. It sent the tone early that things were going to go the Dynamo’s way this game, and it was.
Throughout the match Quioto was active getting forward, pressuring defenders, but he also got back to support defensively often as well. He passed the ball with over 75% accuracy and was the Dynamo’s best dribbler on the night. According to WhoScored, he was their top player in the match for the 2nd week in a row.
Tyler Deric (8.2) – Tyler Deric makes another appearance in the Top Performers category narrowly beating Alex Lima (who deserves plenty of praise this week as well). For the second week in a row Deric is looking more and more in command and confident between the sticks. He made numerous saves against Crew SC, including this one in the 28th minute against Federico Higuain. It’s notable because he was sent off for a similar challenge last season against Higuain, but this time he slid cleanly and denied the playmaker a chance on goal. He made several kinds of saves showcasing his shot stopping versatility. In addition to him coming out and meeting Higuain 1v1, he also made a leaping save and a low one-handed save which jump started a counter attack.
It’s tough to place blame on Deric for the lone goal against the Dynamo in the final seconds of the match. A. J. DeLaGarza was pressuring someone with the ball before a pass and couldn’t shift over quickly enough, Machado was pressuring Justin Meram (credited with the assist), and there were not enough players back defending. In particular Juan David Cabezas, the next closest defender, could have retreated some as Columbus had numbers moving in on goal. Perhaps Deric could have gotten a hand on the ball, but I can’t fault Deric for other players not marking.
Although many feel as if this game was dominated by the Dynamo, it could easily have gone the other way. Columbus had a possession advantage, they had more shots, including shots on target, and had some opportunities that were simple tap-ins, but players weren’t on the same page for the plays. Deric is a big reason the score line is lopsided in our favor as he parried shots away from the net and smothered other attempts. The defense needs to work out some of its organization issues as seen in the chaos that led to Crew SC’s goal, but Deric has come up with some big plays to keep the Dynamo ahead so far this season.
Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera (8.1) – 2 games in and the Dynamo have a perfect 6 points. They also beat a team that, on paper, was superior (the Sounders) and they beat a team they should have won in (Crew SC). So far Cabrera’s high pressing and counter attacking style is working wonders. Before we start dreaming about the Supporter’s Shield and MLS Cup, it’s important to remember that the Dynamo started off pretty well last season – at least from the scoring side of things. The difference between then and now is that the team is defending much better. It’s still an area that needs some attention, but chemistry is still developing for some players. That being said, this offense is easily one of the most exciting to watch early on. Crew SC’s defense is far from elite status, but the Dynamo did what they needed to do and punished a keeper and backline with less experience. The defense and mids were also up to the task of stopping a Crew SC offense capable of scoring plenty of goals themselves.
Last week, I was concerned with some of Cabrera’s substitutions. They felt wrong for a variety of reasons. Bringing in Vicente Sanchez in for Elis is a fine move, but not with the amount of time left in the game. I like what Sanchez brings, but Andrew Wenger or last year’s standout, Mauro Manotas, would have been the better move. He also subbed Wenger into a central midfield role which was wrong. Wenger is a versatile player, but he’s not a central midfielder. This week substitutions were much more like-for-like and I think it worked really well. Cabrera opted to start Eric Alexander over giving Cabezas his starting debut which I was okay with. When he put Cabezas on for Alexander later in the game it made sense. He also brought Wenger on for Elis who was playing as a right wing (Wenger’s position last season). Mauro on for Cubo also made sense as Cubo gassed himself pressuring defenders and making deep runs. Cabrera doesn’t seem to favor making changes he isn’t comfortable with, but his substitution adjustments show he is comfortable with growing as a manager.
The Rest of the Starters:
DEF: Dylan Remick (6.9)
DEF: Adolfo Machado (6.4)
DEF: Leonardo (6.5)
DEF: A. J. DeLaGarza (6.6)
MID: Eric Alexander (6.6)
MID: Ricardo Clark (6.6)
MID: Alex Lima (8.1)
FW: Alberth Elis (7.9)
MID: Juan David Cabezas (6.5)
FW: Andrew Wenger (6.4)
FW: Mauro Manotas (6.3)