FM15: Houston Dynamo and the summer of mediocrity

Desperately trying to reverse the run of poor results that we have been experiencing, we gear up to face a tough Real Salt Lake team. First, however, we hold a team meeting with the objective of getting the players fired up and ready to play.

It appears to have the desire result. Despite getting out shot by RSL 14-4, we take full advantage of our limited opportunities to win 3-1. Andrew Driver (12′) and Giles Barnes (28′) give us a two goal lead. Alvaro Saborio’s 71′ goal has the feeling of deja vu, but Will Bruin ices the match in the 87′.

We follow that match up with our first shutout of the year, a dominating performance over the Los Angeles Galaxy in a 2-1 win. Goals come from Boniek Garcia (46′) and Bruin (65′), whose return to scoring coincides with back-to-back wins.

DC United away is next up and we continue to keep a tight back line in what ends up as a scoreless draw. 7 of a possible 9 points, and all is right with the world again. The rest of the summer is not as good, however, as we start to sink into the abyss again.

5/25/14 @San Jose Earthquakes: A bad 3-0 loss.

5/28/14 @Pittsburgh Riverhounds: We draw our affiliate in the US Open Cup and suffer a very disappointing 2-1 loss.

6/1/14 @Colorado Rapids: Another bad 3-0 loss.

6/6/14 Sporting Kansas City: Aurélien Collin is sent off in the 53′ with SKC up 1-0. Brad Davis levels the score in the 63′, we go on to dominate yet somehow collapse to a 3-1 loss.

6/29/14 @Montreal Impact: A 2-0 then 3-1 lead somehow turns into a 5-3 loss. Jack McInerney’s hat trick topping Bruin’s first ever hat trick.

7/4/14 New York Red Bulls: We celebrate the 4th with a 1-0 win over the Red Bulls thanks to an 86′ Giles Barnes goal.

7/12/14 @Toronto FC: Gilberto and Jermain Defoe combine to tear us up 6-2. 4 goals for Gilberto, 2 for Defoe. David Horst, in particular, is awful.

At this point, I figure if I am going to concede this many goals then I may as well do it while giving the rookie A.J. Cochran playing time, so Horst goes to the bench. We also get the bad news that Alex Lopez has injured himself and will be out for 2-3 months. He had become a starter and was playing reasonably well.

7/19/14 Toronto FC: What do you know? Bench Horst and get a 2-1 win. Bruin scores a brace, his first goals since the Montreal loss.

Credit: Football Manager 15

8/3/14 DC United: We completely dominate a lackluster United side 3-0 on goals from Bruin, Davis and Ricardo Clark.

8/10/14 @Seattle Sounders: Lady luck is finally on our side as an evenly played match turns into a 2-0 win courtesy of Bruin (who is on a hot streak) and Omar Cummings.

8/15/14 Philadelphia Union: A 2-1 win despite a red card for David Horst, playing for a suspended Jermaine Taylor, means we are ending the summer on a hot streak. Davis and an own goal give us the win.

Where we stand

With this little hot streak we have clawed our way back up into the playoff spots with 11 matches to go. The risk is that if we fall apart again, we’ll quickly find ourselves on the outside looking in.

Surprisingly, one of the worst teams in the league has been Seattle. Preseason, they sold Obafemi Martins to Ajax for $8.75 million. They never really replaced him, signing Gooch Onyewu through allocation instead. Gooch has performed poorly and the team has generally been a mess. Chivas USA, on the other hand, has been a surprise. Luis Bolaños has been the driving factor there. He has been the best player in MLS this season, pulling all the strings.

Outside of the center backs, there have been many strong performers for the Dynamo this season. DaMarcus Beasley and Boniek Garcia were selected for the All-Star Game. Garcia has thrived as a raumdeuter which has afforded him the chance to get forward far more often. The end result has been a productive season with 7 goals and 4 assists. Europe has come calling and it is doubtful we can hang on to him past this season.

Giles Barnes has been hugely influential. As a trequartista he has been a creative force. He has 8 assists to go with his 6 goals and is leading the league in key passes. Will Bruin has been the benefactor of the creativity of Barnes, Garcia and Davis (4 goals, 6 assists). His recent streak has propelled him to the top of the goal scoring charts with 16. He has blown plenty of chances, but with 81 shots (mostly close range), he has converted enough opportunities to be deadly.

Credit: Football Manager 15

The final stretch starts now. We have been surprisingly healthy this season, however the Lopez injury has now been followed by an injury to Beasley. Luckily, we have Corey Ashe as a back-up. Hopefully we will not skip a beat with him in the lineup and will make the playoffs.



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