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Houston Dynamo Player Ratings vs. Portland Timbers

The ratings saw a drop in the Dynamo’s first loss of the season

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Portland Timbers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

In the third week of Rate the Players we saw quite the dip in ratings compared to the opening two weeks and for good reason. In the Houston Dynamo’s first defeat, the team looked absolutely dreadful in the second half. However, our top performers all contributed plenty in the first half which is what is worth mentioning. Before getting into too much, our attacking trio of players which made the Top Performers list, it should be noted that all of the forwards completely disappeared in the second half of this game. That’s important to say given how well they performed in the first 45 minutes of this game. Also, Tyler Deric is up for Save of the Week for one of his stops on Fanendo Adi so please vote for him.

The Top Performers:

Romell Quioto, Man of the Match, (6.6) – Quioto consistently puts himself in positions to score this year and it was no different against the Timbers. On his goal, many will point to the quality of the pass from Alberth Elis (more on that later), it is worth noting the quality of the run, the touch taken to control the ball, and how quickly the shot was taken to put the Dynamo up a goal just before half. Quioto also had a free kick that looked like it was heading towards the back corner, only to have it saved by Timber’s goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. But it isn’t just the scoring that makes Quioto so vital to this Dynamo team. It’s his strength to battle through several opponents in difficult areas like the sideline. It’s his dribbling into key areas. It’s his vision. But, as I mentioned above, all of the attackers were virtually absent in the second half, but Quioto was arguably the most active of the bunch as he contributed to some of the only attacking passes we had in the half.

Erick “Cubo” Torres (6.1) – Cubo has really grown this year and I think if all things hold true, he could have a better season than his breakout year with Chivas USA. Now, he may not score as many goals – though he certainly could score far more, but he’s showing skills that he hasn’t previously utilized. His passing looks sharper, his hold up play is better, he’s drawing fouls in favorable places, and he’s scoring in more ways than a poacher type scorer does. All of these things were on display against the Timbers as he helped draw the foul just outside the 18 yard box, his free kick was handled leading to a penalty, and he converted the penalty to equalize the game in the 38th minute. Where he needs to develop, and it was a similar problem Will Bruin had when Owen Coyle decided to take a more conservative approach to the game, is how he needs to involve himself as the team sits in. While I’m not a fan of the Dynamo sitting in on a lead, it happened against Portland after halftime and attacking players need to aggressively insert themselves into games and Cubo in those situations.

Alberth Elis (5.9) – Elis and Alex Lima actually tied for the third spot, I had to give it to Elis for his incredible assist to Romell Quioto. Elis controlled a headed pass from Cubo just before the halfway line following a defensive clearance. He used his speed to stay in front of two defenders and at the perfect moment sent in a pass to Quioto through traffic. This is the best example of the quick, counter attacking style of play that Wilmer Cabrera wants to play. If you blink you could miss something because less than 20 seconds before the goal was scored the Timbers had possession of the ball near our goal. Now, where Elis faltered during this game was with his defensive play which has been a regular criticism of him early into 2017. In Diego Valeri’s second goal of the game, Elis got caught well out of position on Zarek Valentin as he got caught ball watching. In fact, he was watching the initial run of Fanendo Adi with his man completely unmarked and it wasn’t until Valentin retreated closer to Elis did he try and apply some pressure on the outside back. Ultimately, the cross Valentin sent in to Valeri was a good one and the game would be momentarily level.

Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera (4.8) – The two halves really define Cabrera’s strengths and his weaknesses. During halftime I heard comments on twitter about how Cabrera’s simple style was one that no one could figure out. Given how the first half played out, I was onboard with that analysis. The thing is, for whatever reason Cabrera didn’t stick to his game plan in the second half that worked so well in the first. I have to give some credit to Timbers Coach Caleb Porter who utilized possession much more efficiently than his team had done in the first half, but Cabrera’s decision to sit in on the 2-1 lead coupled with Porter’s tactical adjustments doomed this team. In my quick thoughts in the article to rate player performance I said that this team relies on the involvement of its forwards. Take them out of the game like we did in the second half at Portland and we took ourselves out of a positive result. Right now we have two game plans: 1) our exciting counter attacking brand of soccer and 2) sitting in. Sitting in on a lead isn’t all that bad, and we saw some of it work well against Columbus, but a team like Portland can and will punish you for implementing it with 45 minutes left in the game. Cabrera needs another style he can easily switch to in order to control the game the way he wants to.

The Rest of the Starters:

GK: Tyler Deric (5.2)

DEF: DaMarcus Beasley (5.7)

DEF: Adolfo Machado (5.1)

DEF: Leonardo (5)

DEF: A. J. DeLaGarza (5.3)

MID: Juan David Cabezas (4.9)

MID: Ricardo Clark (5)

MID: Alex Lima (5.9)

The Subs:

MID: Oscar Boniek Garcia (5)

FW: Andrew Wenger (4)

FW: Mauro Manotas (4.8)