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Houston Dynamo 0, Real Salt Lake 0: Rate the Players and Quick Thoughts

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To sum up this game: it could have been better, it could have been worse. How did you think the players performed?

MLS: Houston Dynamo at Real Salt Lake Chris Nicoll-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. These ratings are interesting because we all view how players perform differently. Rating websites like WhoScored.com 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) Before the opening whistle blew I think many Houston Dynamo fans had some reservations about the lineup that Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera trotted out. With Romell Quioto, Alberth Elis, and Cubo Torres available and on the bench, one has to wonder why any of the three didn’t get the start. Cubo started last week against Portland and Elis played the entire 2nd half since their return from their international clubs. Houston Chronicle writer Corey Roepken was able to track down a reason for the selections though;

To me, this is an unsatisfying answer for several reasons. I should note that I think Memo Rodriguez has been outstanding along with Mauro Manotas (whom I believe should be our starting center forward over Cubo) and Andrew Wenger. But the last away game was against D. C. United and we didn’t have Cubo, Elis, or Quioto. It’s also a different team altogether. The “if it worked before so why change it” or “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach is Cabrera’s reasoning, then it was poor reasoning in this case. The team lacked width, pace, and we did not take on their defense as well as we could have. If you have some of the team’s best players available, you have to play them if they’re 100% and ready to go.

2) Tyler Deric had a huge flub in the first half of the match which nearly put them in a hole. After an unusual pass backwards Deric grabbed the ball just over the end line to save it from going out, but there seemed to be confusion over whether or not the ref had made a call. Real Salt Lake players wanted a corner because it should have been, but the ref was relatively silent and did not motion for a corner kick. Deric then threw the ball right to an RSL player, but as if he was playing the ball as a keeper throw. Anything other than kicking/throwing the ball into his own goal would have been a better decision. Thankfully Adolfo Machado and the defense was quick to bail Deric out of what could have been one of the most embarrassing goals allowed by the Dynamo.

3) While Alex has been one of, if not, the best player for the Dynamo this year, he’s also been streaky with how well he plays game to game. His performances against RSL also mirror some of this. In the first game he had a goal and an assist compared to this last match where he was sent off. Of course, the team itself varies at home vs. on the road, but scoring and getting sent off are definitely extremes that stand out.

The first of his two yellows was just silly. The Dynamo had a free kick and Albert Rusnak stood over the ball not giving Alex space. This is pretty common in soccer at all levels and it can be pretty frustrating. As Alex approached Rusnak trying to get his space, Rusnak gave him a small one handed push which Alex reciprocated. Both players should have earned a yellow if cards were to be shown at all, but generally players that retaliate are more likely to be disciplined than those that instigate in situations like this. Alex should have kept a cooler head. The second yellow was definitely a yellow. He and Kyle Beckerman were going for the ball and Alex nicked Beckerman on his foot with his cleats. Easy call. Now the Dynamo will be without their playmaker when the San Jose Earthquakes come to town this week and it’s really on him.

4) This was probably a fair result in the end. I know that I’ve mostly had bad things to say so far, but the defense and our defensive-minded midfield players deserve a lot of credit for. Leonardo was very good at blocking shots and led all players with 3. A. J. DeLaGarza held his own against Joao Plata and had 2 blocked shots of his own. Adolfo Machado made several big plays as well. The team wasn’t total “road-form” Dynamo as players like Memo Rodriguez and Manotas stretched the field at times, but there just weren’t enough plays like that. It felt a bit like a step back even though either side could have stolen points. Still, the Dynamo are unbeaten in their last 5 matches and have 5 points out of a possible 9 in their last 3 road games.

Rate the Players: