The Houston Dynamo finally found something on the road in the form of the elusive first road point as they were able to outlast rivals FC Dallas and draw the game 0-0 in the first Texas Derby of the season. The game itself wasn’t too different than typical road form Dynamo, but defensively they were up to the task of staying mostly organized and putting themselves in the way of shots to keep a surging Dallas offense off the score sheet. Offensively things looked the same for Houston away from BBVA as too many defenders behind the ball and forwards not dropping back to help build plays through possession limited action in the attacking third for much of the game. While neither team was able to score, the goalkeepers for each side played a big role in that. Dallas had several quality opportunities to score but they were thwarted by Tyler Deric. Houston’s chances were few, but some came awfully close to helping the visitors steal points on the road. I think all things considered, both sides will be happy with the result in the end.
The player performance scores this week were pretty fair. The defense and goalkeeper definitely deserved the highest ratings and they got them. I do think the score to Cubo Torres is a little unfair as he was the one forward that wasn’t supposed to drop back as much and he didn’t see too much of the ball.
The Top Performers:
Tyler Deric, Man of the Match, (8.9) – Tyler Deric was a surprise start for many as he earned his first start since the game at New England. Deric may have heated up the goalkeeper debate with an absolutely stellar performance in goal. The homegrown player registered 3 big saves (which felt like several more) including one up for goal of the week. Distribution remains an area for Deric to continue to improve in, but as a shot stopper he can still bring it.
Adolfo Machado (7.7) – Machado was a huge reason the Dynamo were successful in the back against Dallas. He put his body on the line as he blocked 3 shots and made 13 crucial clearances – something the Dynamo do not always do well. He won balls in the air, passed well out of the back, an area he typically isn’t too skilled at, and generally kept things organized for the back four.
DaMarcus Beasley (7.3) – Some of the battles between Beasley and Michael Barrios were very entertaining. The two are both speedy players that weren’t afraid to get physical in a rivalry match. Beasley helped stave off some FCD threats by cutting out passes as he was able to intercept 5, a game high. DMB didn’t push too high up the field to support the midfield or forwards, but that seemed like that game plan from the beginning for defenders and mids.
Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera (5.2) – As mentioned above, tactically this game wasn’t too different from other road games for the Dynamo. The biggest difference, I think, is in execution of the game plan. The defense, for example, looked significantly more organized than the back line that made countless mistakes in Atlanta last week. The problem I have isn’t with this being a smart defensive strategy – when it works (again, when it doesn’t, it’s a disaster). It’s that 1) it doesn’t play to our players’ strengths, 2) with forwards not helping back and our midfield sitting deeper we give up the midfield and let opponents create chance after chance on us, and 3) by sitting deep we eliminate any build up play and the only way to create chances is on the counter. Yes that works sometimes, but coaches are figuring it out.
Overall, it was a good outing from a defensive standpoint. The team withstood a lot, but also couldn’t generate much on offense. We finally got a point on the road, but we’ll need to do more if we want to win on the road.
The Rest of the Starters:
DEF: Leonardo (7.2)
DEF: A. J. DeLaGarza (6.9)
MID: Alex Lima (6.7)
MID: Juan David Cabezas (6.5)
MID: Ricardo Clark (6.3)
FW: Mauro Manotas (5.9)
FW: Erick “Cubo” Torres (3.4)
FW: Alberth Elis (5.3)
FW: Vicente Sanchez (6.9)
FW: Andrew Wenger (6.1)
DEF: Jalil Anibaba (5.7)