The Houston Dynamo are currently unbeaten in their last five games with three of those occurring on the road. The Dynamo collected 5 out of a possible 9 points from Minnesota United FC, D. C. United, and most recently Real Salt Lake. From a results perspective the Dynamo seem to have finally put their worrisome road form to bed, but the latest match against Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium in Utah showed there is still some ground to cover to being consistent on the road in terms of form.
While it would be a mistake to say that the team regressed into their full “road-woe” form as the club was counter attacking and getting chances, but some of the same problems we’ve seen on the road this season did creep up. Notably not playing with enough width or pace on the wing, playing compact in the midfield (which makes a team that doesn’t possess well easy to stop), and our quick counters weren’t played nearly as frequently. On top of that we saw some big mistakes from the Wilmer Cabrera in terms of the starting XI he used, to Tyler Deric for nearly gifting RSL a goal by literally giving them the ball in a dangerous position, and Alex for accumulating two quick yellow cards – one of which was very preventable. It wasn’t all bad though as the defense was up to the challenge of blocking plenty of shots and preventing all 21 of RSL’s shots ending up on target.
Personnel wise, I think that the ratings that were totaled were generally fair with a few exceptions. No way is Tyler Deric a Top Performer (more on that below), Leonardo and Adolfo Machado deserved higher scores when compared with Dylan Remick (either lower Remick’s rating or raise our CBs’), and it is absurd that Cubo Torres is our lowest ranked player compared to Alex who had himself sent off and didn’t contribute too much before that.
The Top Performers:
Dylan Remick, Man of the Match, (7.7) – Remick probably wasn’t my top player of the game nor was he the top defensive player in my view, but he definitely did plenty on both ends of the field to deserve to be a Top Performer. He was very active clearing the ball which helped keep the Dynamo safe at the back and his positioning as a defender continues to impress me. He was also skilled at getting up the field. While he didn’t pass too much in Real Salt Lake’s half, his runs and ability to get in the box either during the run of play or on set pieces kept him dangerous. If he had hit his header late in the game to steal points at Rio Tinto then he would be the undisputed MotM.
A. J. DeLaGarza (7.6) – AJ was probably my MotM (or Leonardo or Machado) due to how well he limited Joao Plata. Plata is one the most skilled players in MLS with the ball at his feet and AJ read him most of the time – which is about as good as you could ask for going against Plata. Plata struggled against our defenders and had 4 of his 6 shots blocked, 2 of which were blocked by AJ.
Tyler Deric (7) – To me, Tyler Deric was not the 3rd best player against Real Salt Lake. For starters he had a monumental blunder in the first half. There was some confusion on the play involving a ball that was not out that Deric got which RSL wanted a corner for, but the center referee didn’t make a call, Deric decided to play the ball by throwing it right to RSL. It was a mess that could have been avoided by throwing it out, booting it, or playing it to a teammate to let them deal with the confusion. Deric also had 0 saves because RSL had 0 shots on target. That doesn’t mean that Deric didn’t position himself well, keep his line organized and aware, or run/slide to a ball before opponents. It just means his defense did a good job making his job easier.
Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera (4) –A 4 feels about right for Cabrera as this wasn’t a terrible outing and he can’t be blamed for Alex getting himself sent off. I just feel with Romell Quioto, Alberth Elis, and Cubo Torres available, one of them should start over Memo Rodriguez or Andrew Wenger. The problems with width and pace are solved with Elis or Quioto as both are direct attacking players which helps play to our strengths as a team. I think we could have been better out of the starting gate with a different XI even though I think that the three players we did start up top have been fantastic lately – I just think these three other guys are better (with possible exception to Cubo being better than Manotas).
The Rest of the Starters:
DEF: Leonardo (6.2)
DEF: Adolfo Machado (6.2)
MID: Alex Lima (4.8)
MID: Juan David Cabezas (6.3)
MID: Ricardo Clark (6.4)
FW: Memo Rodriguez (5.9)
FW: Mauro Manotas (6.1)
FW: Andrew Wenger (5.5)
FW: Alberth Elis (5.9)
FW: Erick “Cubo” Torres (4.3)
MID: Oscar Boniek Garcia (5.4)