This isn’t how the season was supposed to start for the Houston Dynamo. An ugly loss to New England followed by a tie at home against FC Dallas, a traditional punching bag at Robertson Stadium.
Geoff Cameron’s late equalizer provided some hope, and almost made Houston fans forget that their team needed a late goal to avoid two losses to start the season.
Injuries to Pat Onstad and Eddie Robinson left most Houston fans dreading the worst as the Dynamo head to Costa Rica this week for Champions Cup semifinal action.
SBI Correspondent Alex Swaim took in the Texas Derby on Sunday and shares his views in the following report (Share your thoughts on Alex’s piece in the comments section below):
Standings call it a tie, but Derby draw feels like a loss
by Alex Swaim
I find myself thinking of this Sunday’s 3-3 draw with FC Dallas as a loss with positives. The thought that the game was a Dynamo loss resonated so strongly with me that a friend of mine had to keep correcting me when I was talking about it because I kept using the term "loss" instead of "tie".
Perhaps the reason I’m negative about it is that it was a home draw against our rivals. Giving up any points against FC Dallas feels like a kick in the teeth, especially in a game dominated by Houston for the full 90 minutes.
The failings start not with a single player, but once again with mistakes in giving up balls near midfield while the whole team was pushing up. So far this season, it seems to me that three of the six goals given up by the Dynamo started with balls turned over in those situations. Two of the others were off rebounds (which might have been created from turnovers), and the third was a long pass from midfield.
It’s not like anybody has beaten the Dynamo outright – it’s the Dynamo who are beating themselves. But with this weekend’s game in particular, there were bad individual defensive performances that kept Houston from getting the scoreline it deserved.
Public enemy number one after the game looked like backup keeper Tony Caig, who was one of the ones who came stateside after the Gretna collapse in Scotland. Caig came in cold for an injured Onstad, and gave up soft goals in a lob and a savable shot to Kenny Cooper. I’m not too concerned about Caig though. He will learn how American strikers play and do a better job next time.
The player I am worried about is Bobby Boswell. Two games into the season and he’s been turned twice by attackers for goals. That’s in addition to poor marking. The thing that worries me the most is that when Alvarez got by him he pulled up and quit on the play. That’s what worries me the most, I know something with his running mechanics have changed since his Defender of the Year season but it seems his mentality has changed too. Ianni also gets beaten in those one-on-ones but at least he doesn’t give up on the play. I either expect Boswell will shape up mentally under Dom or he loses his job.
That’s about all that’s bad with the Dynamo right now, which is comforting. The team will stop making those sloppy errors, and with that the defense will be better. What I’m more impressed by is how the team played, despite missing an entire starting midfield. How many teams in MLS can say they could field a better midfield than Holden, Davis, Mullan, and Clark? How many could play well that many quality players down? Caraccio played quite well, but still looks like he’s getting familiar with Ching and DeRo. If he does, he could be an impact player.
Ashe did ok, but still gets stood up by the bigger defenders and needs to figure out how to beat the first guy. And Cameron had one hell of a first start! He played well for most of the game, even though he gave up the ball that led to the second FCD goal. The stoppage time goal was HUGE and he played with a ton of confidence. He reminds me of Nate Jaqua with a better touch, when Kinnear had Jaqua playing on the right. This team is fine; they’ll start winning soon enough. Hopefully they start this Wednesday in Costa Rica.