Even before the game began Houston Dynamo fans were greeted with a few surprises. Tally Hall was being benched, Corey Ashe had picked up an injury and wouldn’t be starting, and Alex Lopez was starting.
First of all, do not over-think why Hall did not start tonight, that’ll be ridiculous. He’s had some bad games, and Tyler Deric had a decent one. That does not mean that Hall should be afraid of losing his starting spot this season. This was one game, and in the end a non-factor.
The game started well enough. Houston seemed to have some possession and while not taking many shots, at least it didn’t seem like the nightmare it would become later on. In the 20th minute, Dynamo got a miracle that seemed to be a sign of an oncoming victory. SKC player Toni Dovale was ejected for an apparent elbow to Alex Lopez.
Now Houston was going to be up a player for 70 minutes, in the heat of The Oven, and with a KC team missing Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, and Aurelien Collin. It almost felt as if our run of bad luck and losses was finally going to come to an end.
As the game went on, however, we saw one constant problem. Houston had two times more of the possession than Sporting Kansas City, but shots were not coming. The Dynamo looked lost. Their forwards were getting bad balls in the area, the few times Houston even tried to attack.
How could a team that’s up a player and is controlling the game, not be winning, or even look dangerous? I have no answer for that. I’m the last person in the world that will ever doubt a Houston Dynamo player’s motivation, but that’s exactly how Houston looked, unmotivated.
It came as no surprise that Houston ended the first half down a goal. Even though, Kansas City was down a player, they actually put together passes in their attacking third and eventually that was too much for our defense. In a defensive blunder by Dynamo player Eric Brunner, SKC’s Soony Saad scored.
As the second half began, it almost seemed like a forgone conclusion that Houston would not score. The only reason why anybody in The Oven held out hope for a victory was for the fact that Kansas City was down a player. Why do I keep bringing up the fact they were down a player?
The Houston Dynamo were outplayed by not only a weakened Sporting Kansas City side that was winless in 5 games, but also a Sporting team that was down a player for 70 minutes and only held the ball for 33% of the time.
That’s how low Houston has sunk. Even if Houston has the ball for most of the game, they have no idea what to do with it. They’ll pass it around the field, but make absolutely nothing of their possession.
Eventually one of three things will happen:
1) The opposing team steals the ball, goes on a counter and gets close to scoring.
2) Houston manages to make a horrible cross that is almost impossible to score off. Which most likely goes out of bounds.
3) The Dynamo get desperate after realizing they’ve done nothing but pass the ball around, and they take a horrible shot that hits a poor fan in the stands.
Coach Kinnear blamed himself for our performance by stating that he chooses the team, and it’s his fault for giving guys a chance. He’s right. He does choose the team, but he did nothing wrong by giving some other players a chance. Alex Lopez actually performed decently enough for a player that gets about as much playing time as Eddie Robinson (he’s retired).
The truth is Kinnear is a coach. This team lacks motivation. This team needs a spark, not only from a player, but from their coach. It’s the coaches job to make players feel like they not only have or need to play their best, but that they want to play their best game, every game.
We can always hope that this was all a sign that we’re going for the U.S. Open Cup. Oh yeah, before I forget around the 70th minute, Houston Dynamo defender A.J. Cochran got called for a handball in the penalty box, thus leading to a spot kick and goal for Sporting Kansas City. It was a horrible call. However, this game was over for Houston before the opening whistle.