Dynamo Win: Takeaways and Player Ratings


Mar 15, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo forward Will Bruin (12) shoots against Montreal Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins (1) during the second half at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo gave a gritty performance in defeating the Montreal Impact by a score of 1-0 last night. It was a victory that looks perhaps a bit lucky the day after as the Impact generate a number of quality opportunities but failed to convert.

In re-watching the match today, there are several key takeaways that I come away with:

Center back pairing still learning

Center backs David Horst and Jermaine Taylor have spent little time playing together given Taylor’s injury issues in the preseason and it shows. The Impact were able to get player behind the back line with long balls several times in what looked like confusion between Taylor and Horst as to who was meant to be covering. Fortunately, each time the Dynamo were able to recover and thwart Montreal.

There are signs of a partnership forming and Horst in particular has shown a good ability to recover and strength in the air, however a more clinical striker like Marco Di Vaio would likely have turned at least one of the long balls into a goal.

Midfield overrun

I have said before that I am not fond of the 4-4-2, especially when facing a 5-man midfield. The Impact deployed a 4-2-3-1 (as many MLS sides are doing this season) and pressed high on the Dynamo. The Dynamo midfield was simply out-manned, especially in the middle of the pitch. This led to a number of dangerous turnovers and quick counter-attacks.

Montreal’s midfield is better than the one the Dynamo faced against New England last week, but by no means is it the best in the league. The Dynamo are going to have to make tactical adjustments if teams continue to employ 5-man midfields and press high against them.

Forward work

Will Bruin and Giles Barnes are both doing work off the ball that often goes unnoticed by fans. Andrew Driver’s 10th minute opportunity was created not only by a surging drive by Barnes but also a wonderful near post run by Bruin which pulled the defenders away from the middle and left Driver wide open. This was similar to Barnes’ near post run against New England which left Bruin alone on the far post for a goal.

Mar 15, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Dynamo defender Kofi Sarkodie (8) receives a yellow card during the first half against the Montreal Impact at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

In the 15th minute, Bruin popped up all the way back in the box to cut off a dangerous pass that might have led to a scoring opportunity. In the 51st moment, Barnes picked off a corner at the far post to stop what would have been a point blank opportunity. Both players are contributing heavily not just on the ball but off of it and on defense as well.

Player Ratings

Tally Hall (7) – Came up big several times stopping close range shots. Was master of his area in the 2nd half, taking the pressure off the defense by coming off his line to cut out crosses often. Punted the ball directly over the sidelines several times, however, which gifted possession to Montreal.

Corey Ashe (6.5) – Solid defensively and going forward. Had a spectacular recovery in the 63rd minute in the box to cut off a pass on a play that was nearly identical to Driver’s opportunity in the 1st half. Made a couple of sloppy passes leading to turnovers.

David Horst (7) – Strong in the air again. Showed good recovery ability in the 3rd, 7th and 56th minute to break up attacks. Nearly had a header on goal in the 34th minute. Made several sloppy passes, however, including one in the 39th minute that led to a point blank opportunity for Wenger.

Jermaine Taylor (5.5) – Was the weak link of the defense last night. Turned the ball over often, committed unnecessary fouls in dangerous spots and whiffed on a header that fell to Wenger with only a goal line clearance by Sarkodie saving the Dynamo blushes. Was physically strong defensively to break up a few opportunities, otherwise would have been rated lower.

Kofi Sarkodie (7) – Kept the Dynamo in front with a key goal line clearance in the 62nd minute as well as a great slide tackle in the box to stop an attack in the 76th. Put in a number of quality crosses on the offensive end and drew a corner with a nice run into the area. Drew a card on a calculated tackle that stopped a dangerous counter-attack. Did have a few sloppy passes that led to turnovers, however.

Brad Davis (6.5) – Ran at the defense and generally put them under pressure. Put some quality service into the box. His set pieces were often place far too close to the keeper, however.

Boniek Garcia (6.5) – Generally good performance, particularly in the 2nd half. Ran hard, defended well, had two top quality shots at goal in the half. Struggled at times in the 1st half with the high pressing and midfield numbers of Montreal, however. Conceded possession multiple times in dangerous areas leading to counter-attacks.

Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports

Ricardo Clark (6) – Quiet but solid night for Clark. Was again important in breaking up attacks and got forward well. Had one potentially quality opportunity to get on a pass from Sarkodie in the box but his first touch was too heavy.

Andrew Driver (6) – Did some good things offensively and defensively. Had a close range shot stopped by Perkins, put in several quality crosses. A bit too predictable, however, and not at his strongest on the right.

Giles Barnes (6.5) – Had the assist on Bruin’s goal, showed strength and power in setting up Driver’s shot and putting in a cross in a similar sequence of play. Was a bit out of control at times, however. Lost possession too easily a few times when in full sprint, took a shot from well outside the area when Driver was alone in space on the sideline and could have played a better ball into the box. Key far post headed clearance on a corner to save a scoring opportunity.

Will Bruin (7) – The goal was lucky, but it was the type of opportunity he passed on last season. Worked hard, defended well, made good runs to create space. Might have done a bit better with his one-on-one with the keeper but first touch took the ball too wide. Generally a solid performance, however.

Brian Ownby (5) – Came on as a late substitute did not play much of a role. Gave away possession trying to charge up field when controlling the ball would have been better.

Servando Carrasco (5.5) – Came on late, made a couple of key stops on the defensive end and turned the ball over once on the offensive end.

Mark Sherrod (NR) – Came on too late to make much of an impact.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below.

Read the match recap here.