Call it a coincidence but in the same week when former Houston forward Joseph Ngwenya was revealed to hav a trial with Bayern Munich, the Dynamo were once again struggling to score goal.
A third straight draw, and third scoreless draw of the season, was all the defending champions had to show for its Western Conference showdown vs. Real Salt Lake on Thursday night.
There was a time not too long ago when a draw against the Dynamo would be cause for celebration in Utah, but RSL is enjoying a solid season and had to feel disappointed about getting just a point against a clearly struggling Dynamo team.
SBI correspondents Scott McAllister and Alex Swaim took in the action and shared their thoughts with us.
Ties keep binding sluggish Dynamo
By ALEX SWAIM
If Charles Dickens was writing a serialized novel about the Dynamo/Real Salt Lake game, he would probably start it by writing, "it was the best of halves, it was the worst of halves". But if I had to
choose, I’d say that the clash of Western Conference higher-ups would be better written by Mary Shelley. That game was a monster that could rival Frankenstein. It looked like they took pieces of other games
they had played in before and sewed them together in such a way that the body of play was in conflict with itself and never quite seemed to feel comfortable on the Astroturf at Rice-Eccles stadium.
The Dynamo came out in the first half and controlled the game. That is not to say that they had more chances – RSL was by far the more dangerous them throughout the game – but the Dynamo were the ones probing and looking for the passes that would lead to the breakthrough goal. And if you ignore the inability to stay onside, they did an okay job of managing a game on the road, preventing the home team from building any momentum.
In fact, despite the fact that RSL had had far more convincing attacks even in the first half, I felt like the Dynamo were in a good position to (hopefully) close their days playing on green plastic carpet in
Utah with a win. The Dynamo defense wasn’t breaking, and it was only a matter of time before Brian Ching or Dwayne DeRosario found a good ball to put into the back of the net.
And then the second half started. Much to my surprise, the Dynamo didn’t pick their game up for the second half as the usually do. Instead, it was Real Salt Lake grabbing the reins and controlling much
of the play from minute 50 until minute 80.
It would have been a slaughter if Tony Caig had been in the net. Thankfully Pat Onstad was the net-minder on the day, and despite one situation where he was pulled to the edge of the 18-yard box he was more than reliable between the posts, saving the point for the Dynamo time and time again.
And I suppose that’s what disappoints me most about this game. It wasn’t the number of cards or the fighting. I actually thought the game was physical but didn’t degrade into "rough" except for a stretch
around the 70th minute. What disappointed me was that the Dynamo were forced back on their heels and didn’t fight out of it until the 80th minute.
Ignore the red card (it was harsh), ignore the misses (neither Ching nor Kenny Deuchar could put a header on goal), the Dynamo didn’t pick apart the other team like they should be doing. It might be that the quality of MLS has risen in the past two years to a point where good passing isn’t enough to beat a defense. It might be that teams seem to close in around the 18-yard box to prevent shots from making it to goal. It could be both.
If the Dynamo want to win this season, they have to stop being too good to lose games. They have to start being good enough to win them. Four wins, four losses, and eight draws might be good enough for
second in the west right now, but if Houston doesn’t WIN games, I can’t see them making the playoffs.
Dominic Kinnear needs to figure out something soon – let’s just hope a good SuperLiga is enough to get La Máquina Naranja going again.
RSL just can’t score goals
By SCOTT McALLISTER
“Goals, here! I’ve got goals! Every kind of goal on sale today at rock bottom prices!!! You gentlemen look like you could use some goals, who do you play for?”
“Real Salt Lake.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. We can’t sell goals to you boys. Good day.”
Okay, so going two games without scoring really isn’t cause for alarm in and of itself. However, against the Dynamo on Thursday night RSL were inventing new ways to not score. Kyle Beckerman was the first to choke.
In the opening minutes Kenny Deuchar did everything a target man should do. A high ball came into the box, he laid it into the path of Beckerman, and all that is asked of Beckerman is to shoot. Instead, he goes to settle first and the result is a scoring opportunity lost with Beckerman chasing the ball into the corner.
Deuchar missed plenty of opportunities on his own, most notably nicking the in-swinging free kick over the bar while sliding on the ground to tap it in. This revisits the point about Deuchar being a finisher, which was brought up in a previous post. Since coming to Salt Lake Deuchar’s finishing has been less than stellar, just two in 16 games. But, while he’s having troubles putting balls in the net he’s doing the other job of a target man quite well. Don’t give him the ball at his feet, he’ll trip over it. Send him a high ball and he’ll bring it down for someone else to run onto it. That part of his play was causing problems for Houston, although I think RSL were looking to Deuchar a little too much at times.
Jamison Olave did a great job on Brian Ching. From the opening whistle he was mixing it up with the Houston striker, and practically took him out of the game – almost literally, as it took longer and longer for Ching to get up after run ins with the Colombian. I love Olave’s aggression, and against Houston he showed his intelligence with it by not getting a second yellow. He knew when to tone down the contact. Although, I’ll admit he was lucky not to get that second caution on a few of the challenges late in the game.
Which brings us to the “incident.” Do I even need to say that once you pull your clinched fist back in nearly any sport that you sealed your removal from the game? Tensions were high, and Chris Wingert did what he felt he had to do, but it was the correct call from the official to remove him from the match. Should one of the Dynamo been sent off? Possibly, but none of them threw a punch so it’s not as clear cut.
The crowds display of displeasure was classless. Throwing random objects on the field in anger never proved anything to anybody, except for your lack of self control.
Now, the injustice of being robbed of extra time is getting a little eerie. For the
second time this season RSL were told they would receive four minutes of extra time with the referee blowing his whistle at two minutes. Coach Kreis had every right to storm his way across the crowded field to let his feelings be known to the officials. I would have done the same thing.