Houston 4 – DC 1: Houston Strolls to Victory

‘An easy victory’ might be too strong a term, but the Houston Dynamo didn’t appear all too troubled by visiting DC United last night. In a battle of similar formations, Houston benefited from lax DC defending.

1st Half

Managers Dominic Kinnear and Ben Olsen fielded their players in similar 4-4-2′s. The only major difference was that Kinnear’s Houston utilized two big, bruising forwards, while Olsen preferred a combination of guile (Josh Wolff) and trickery (Charlie Davies).

The starting lineups

But, as the formations were so similar, much of the match’s ebb and flow was determined by individual marking. The outside midfielders took on the fullbacks, the center backs marked the strikers, etc. It was a simple tactical match-up. And for most of the first half, Houston outplayed DC.

They got on the board early when Dax McCarty’s backpass was picked off by Geoff Cameron, who played Will Bruin into the box. Amazingly, not a single United defender tracked Bruin’s run (4th). The lively rookie, echoing Houston’s early control, created a shot for himself a few minutes later, though on this occasion his effort was blocked.

Despite being second-best for much of the half, United did create a perfect scoring opportunity in the 12th. But Chris Pontius’ header, off a Jed Zayner cross, was shoved wide by keeper Tally Hall. United was given a break in the 38th when Andrew Hainault handled a McCarty pass, allowing Marc Burch to equalize on a free kick.

But United quickly returned to form. Three minutes later, a simple cross from Brad Davis set up Bruin for a brace. Again, shoddy defending essentially gave Bruin a free shot on goal. Weaver and Bruin made criss-crossing runs (Weaver to the near post and Bruin to the far) and defenders Burch and Kitchen couldn’t handle the basic move.

2nd Half

United started the second half brightly, as halftime substitute Andy Najar created a shot for Pontius just minutes after the whistle. Hainault , though, made up for his earlier effort with an outstanding sliding block. Pontius’ shot would be the last meaningful United action for almost thirty minutes.

In the 56th, Bruin notched his first MLS hat-trick off a Davis free kick. The nicely-executed set piece gave Bruin yet another unmarked header. United’s day then went from bad to worse in the 61st. Right back Zayner went off with an injured hamstring. His replacement, Ethan White, stepped into the middle and center back Perry Kitchen moved to Zayner’s fullback spot. As they were still adjusting to the change, Weaver slipped behind the backline on a Houston throw-in, ran onto the 30+ yard throw, and beat Hamid in a one-on-one.

Weaver’s run was quite intelligent – and all of Bruin’s finishes were top-class – but Olsen couldn’t have been happy that all four Houston goals occurred in situations where a striker was left unmarked.

Gringos, did you watch last night’s game on FSC? Were you impressed by the young Bruin? What’d you think of Charlie Davies?

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Gringo Primal says:

    I wish Charlie had looked better. Sometimes there’s a glimpse of old Charlie, but most of the time he looked out of place.

  2. Heather says:

    I love seeing Charlie Divies lose after that moved he pulled on LA. I really wanted to see him do well this season but after watching how dirty he plays I have no desire to root for him anymore.

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