The Houston Dynamo were unable to produce on the offensive side of the ball against the Colorado Rapids this past Saturday night, but fortunately for the Dynamo, the home side Rapids also looked lost when they attacked. In the 0-0 draw it looked more like both teams trying not to lose rather than a side trying to win. The result was not very pretty to look at, but the Dynamo did get a point on the road.
Quick Thoughts about the Game:
1) Wilmer Cabrera’s starting lineup should have been an immediate sign of how the game will go. I understanding resting some players with the US Open Cup Quarterfinals this coming Wednesday and the Texas Derby Saturday. The following week is also a double game week so keeping players fresh is important. The formation of 5-4-1 against a team that defends incredibly deep was far too safe a measure. The result was very unattractive soccer with little effort by either side to advance the ball up the field. The Dynamo had played this team in Houston four regular season games ago and controlled things largely in Colorado’s own half without much danger going the other direction. A team with a lot of supporting bench players in the starting lineup might require some adjustments, but this seemed (again) too safe.
2) I’ll give Wilmer some credit with his substitution of Luis Gil for Mauro Manotas. Things immediately looked better on the offensive side of the ball with two strikers up top as chances actually began to rack up. The formation would also flow between the defensive 5-3-2 to a slightly more attacking one with Adam Lundqvist joining the midfield from time to time. While the offense looked better than it had, it was still lacking support from the midfield which is why taking off Tomás Martínez, an attacking midfielder, for Darwin Cerén, a defensive midfielder, proved to be fruitless in the end. In the end the entire offense relied too heavily on individual efforts by Alberth Elis and shots from distance due to less support from the midfield.
3) Playing it safe or trying to manage out a late game winner against a team like the Rapids may sound attractive. They’re a team that won’t put a lot of pressure on you and if you can take advantage of just one moment then you could come away with 3 points. The issue with that strategy is that by sitting too deep instead of keeping the Rapids in their own half, they now have chances to win more fouls, corners, or capitalize in other ways in our half in order to steal a result. I think a road point is a decent result, but if Colorado stole 3 points because we played too conservatively it would have been a disaster of a game.
4) Looking at the bigger picture, a road point is a decent get. The team is still within a game of a playoff position, but the game plan did not do the Dynamo any favors to get 3points against a weaker opponent. The Dynamo are about to enter a very difficult stretch with several games against quality opponents so dropping points to Colorado might not seem so bad now, but it could after games against FC Dallas, the Portland Timbers, and Sporting Kansas City.