The unbeaten run at home in 2017 is over for the Houston Dynamo who were defeated by 11th place in the Western Conference Colorado Rapids 0-1 at BBVA Compass Stadium last Saturday. The 5th place Dynamo were hoping to move up the table which has become a tight race to the top. Favorable results ensured that the Dynamo remained in 5th place, but points were definitely dropped in this one.
Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera decided to play many of his international players who had recently returned to Houston for training following the international break for World Cup Qualifying. Alex Lima was another player who probably should have been on the bench and subbed on later to ensure he doesn’t see a yellow card which would suspend him. Instead he started and saw yellow which means he will now have to miss out when the team travels to San Jose.
Overall, it was difficult for the Dynamo to break down the Rapids as they matched up very well against us. They decided to sit back and hope to score on a counter (they did) which let the Dynamo control the lion’s share of the possession. The Dynamo aren’t very good at building up play and much of their passing was too patient. Furthermore, they had to sub on the one player who could have helped playmake and break down the defense in Tomas Martinez. This resembled early “road form” as the team took very few risks going forward which is what this team is designed to do.
I think the overall voting on the player performances was hit and miss – at least compared to how I would rate the players. Alex’s performance for example feels right, but I don’t think Tyler Deric was the Man of the Match.
The Top Performers:
Tyler Deric, Man of the Match, (6.7) – There wasn’t a ton that Deric could have done on the lone goal that he allowed. That was really about Beasley being slightly off his man and he was caught ball watching just enough. Overall though Deric was pretty consistent at grabbing or deflecting out corners or crosses and he had a very good save against Dominique Badji in the 53rd minute. It wasn’t a clean save and it deflected into a dangerous area, but Juan David Cabezas was there to recover the ball.
A. J. DeLaGarza (5.7) – AJ led all players in touches as he was able to push himself into the attack to try and link up with players, but was often a target to be passed to as the Dynamo had to drop the ball back since they struggled to break down the Rapids. AJ had several clearances and a tackle and intercepted pass. Overall it was a pretty consistent slightly above average performance for the defender.
Adolfo Machado (5.6) – Machado had three big tackles, including one in the box in the 56th minute. Machado was active at recovering for Houston while passing just below 90% accuracy at 87%. Overall it was a solid outing for the Panamanian defender who did himself a favor by not getting a yellow card which would have seen him suspended against the Earthquakes.
Head Coach Wilmer Cabrera (2.9) – Harrison Hamm wrote a great piece about some of the flaws that were exposed in this game and they mostly stem from Cabrera. I want to credit what Cabrera has done so far this year which looks nothing like last season, but it wouldn’t be fair to not acknowledge some of his flaws and only looking at the positives. Tactically, Cabrera needs to improve. He’s already shown he can manage games better, specifically with his use of subs, but he needs to figure out the best ways for our fast brand of counter attacking soccer to work against opponents.
In the past, he experimented with a 4-4-2 (which actually resembled a 5-3-2 with Cabezas playing as a sweeper almost) which saw mixed results. I applauded the effort which worked well against San Jose, but not Toronto. Against Colorado, who decided to park the bus early, the Dynamo were far too conservative with their passing. They moved it side to side, but rarely were able to penetrate. When there were opportunities to counter, we slowed it down which let the Rapids get back in position. This was not playing to our strengths.
Later in the game, Martinez and Quioto helped generate more chances and the game appeared to open up. I’m not upset about the goal against us more than I was about our own lack of chances on goal. With Martinez, Quioto, Cubo Torres, and Alberth Elis on the field, we may allow some goals, but we’re supposed to get some ourselves as well.
The Rest of the Starters:
DEF: DaMarcus Beasley (4.8)
DEF: Philippe Senderos (5.2)
MID: Alex Lima (3.7)
MID: Juan David Cabezas (5.2)
MID: Ricardo Clark (4.6)
FW: Mauro Manotas (4.6)
FW: Erick “Cubo” Torres (3.6)
FW: Alberth Elis (4.6)
FW: Romell Quioto (3.9)
MID: Tomas Martinez (4.7)
DEF: Leonardo (4.3)