Last Sunday I asked for help in rating the Houston Dynamo players’ performances following their 2-1 victory over the reigning MLS Cup champs, the Seattle Sounders. The response was outstanding so I averaged out the ratings to give us more or less how we all felt about the game.
The Top Performers:
Romell Quioto, Man of the Match, (8.5) – There wasn’t too much hype about Quioto when he was first signed as it appeared he would be behind Mauro Manotas, Alberth Elis, Cubo Torres, and perhaps even Andrew Wenger. Then we saw what he could do in preseason and we saw it again against the Sounders. Quioto is very good at putting himself in scoring positions and he does it in a variety of ways. 1) He’s excellent at anticipating where crosses and passes are going to be and it helps that he has his fellow countryman in Elis supplying many of these chances, 2) He’s skilled with the ball at his feet and can get passed defenders or find an opening to take a shot, and 3) he’s a marksman and can curl in a ball with either foot.
In this game Quioto easily could have had a brace, but somehow he missed a point blank shot while the goal he did score was a curled effort from outside the 18 yard box. He tormented the Seattle back with his dribbling into space and was able to recover the ball well from the left side of the pitch. While some of us weren’t sure exactly what we were getting when Quioto was first signed, we’re all pretty happy with what we’ve gotten to see so far.
Erick “Cubo” Torres (7.6) – The first question that many of us had about this offseason was whether or not Cubo Torres was returning. Many were fine moving on from him as his lack of effort was aggravating to watch and we were all supportive of the younger Mauro Manotas whose play late in the season became a bright spot on an otherwise dim season. However, with Will Bruin being sent over to the Seattle Sounders and with Giles Barnes traded earlier in the season, we were thin at the forward position (we had Mauro and Wenger, who was only deployed out wide that season).
This preseason and against the Sounders Cubo is back. Maybe it was the failed loan stint, maybe it was frustration at a poor season, or maybe it’s renewed confidence given to him by his former coach (and current Dynamo HC) Wilmer Cabrera. Although Cubo isn’t a traditional center forward or number 9, he’s leading the offensive line with his brilliant runs, wonderful touch, and a recently recovered ability to put the ball in the back of the net. The thing that I love the most about Cubo’s play early on is that I’m seeing him pressure and harass center backs that have the ball. This is in stark contrast to the player that mostly jogged around disinterested.
Cubo’s goal against the Sounders was a brilliant free kick, that was arguably savable, but it wasn’t and it put the Dynamo up 1-0. His passing looked good for playing as a center forward and he helped set up a pair of key passes that nearly became goals.
Tyler Deric (7.4) – While someone like Alex may have been my pick in this spot, the voters chose Tyler Deric as their 3rd highest rated player (beating out Alberth Elis by a small margin). Another preseason talking point was the debate over Joe Willis vs. Deric as the top goalkeeper. Deric has traditionally held the role, but a string of injuries and a few poor decisions on the field last season opened up the conversation to Willis who made loads of brilliant saves in Deric’s absence. However, a preseason injury to Willis shut down his opportunity to usurp Deric’s place, but Deric isn’t exactly standing still with his level of play. Deric has always been an excellent shot stopper, much like his predecessor Tally Hall, but his distribution and skill with the ball at his feet have always let him down. But, against the Sounders we saw his long passes reach their intended target or get close to hitting their mark. Deric looked confident going after crosses, catching 3 of them, and he made 3 saves in total. It’s a little hard to fault Deric for the only goal scored against him. Elis defended lazily Joevin Jones who sent in a cross. Deric punched the low cross away, but it fell to Clint Dempsey who picked up the scraps and put the ball in the net.
The Rest of the Starters:
DEF: DaMarcus Beasley (7.3)
DEF: Adolfo Machado (6.5)
DEF: Leonardo (6.5)
DEF: A. J. DeLaGarza (7)
MID: Eric Alexander (6.8)
MID: Ricardo Clark (6.8)
MID: Alex Lima (7.1)
FW: Alberth Elis (7.4)
MID: Oscar Boniek Garcia (6.5)
FW: Vicente Sanchez (5.6)
MID: Andrew Wenger (5.8)