Dynamo's Home Touch Fading with Loss To Red Bulls

The Dynamo have seen some cold spells in their time in Houston, but their current situation is ridiculous. They are 0-3-1 in their last four matches, and have been outscored 12-2.

Now as bad as that last figure looks, it could be much worse. If you don't include Sunday's home loss to the New York Red Bulls - a 4-1 result - then the goals ratio is only a mere 8-1 in favor of the opposing team. Not as bad.

In our effort to see the glass as half full - or half empty - here are 5 things Hair Balls noticed Sunday night at BBVA Compass Stadium.

5. Absence of stars

We've reached that point every four years when World Cup Qualifying is reaching its conclusion around the globe. National teams assemble their rosters as everyone makes their last effort to qualify for the big dance. Since FIFA set the 6th and 10th as official dates for Qualifier matches, the best players have been plucked by their clubs to rep their home countries.

The Dynamo paid their price by losing defender Jermaine Taylor and midfielder Boneik Garcia for both dates, joining Jamaica and Honduras respectively. And then in a last second change by US coach Jurgen Klinnsman, midfielder Brad Davis was summoned to join the Yanks on Saturday for their big clash with rival Mexico on Tuesday night in Columbus, OH.

4. Injury bug pestering the Dynamo more than the recent surge of mosquitoes County officials need to bring out the spray trucks to the Southwest side - and then make a detour to BBVA.

On top of the club's aces being away on national team duty, they had to battle the slew of injuries that's plagued them. Out was defenders Corey Ashe and Eric Brunner, and midfielder Andrew Driver.

Then there was Calen Carr, Omar Cummings, and Tyler Deric; who were listed as questionable but didn't even get a seat on the bench.

Good news: Ricardo Clark returned from his illness in the second half - which is when the Red Bulls scored three of their four goals.   3. Tactical shift in formation didn't pay dividends

With the remaining players at head coach Dominic Kinnear's arsenal, the Dynamo made the formation to the 4-3-3. You might remember the 4-3-3 as the formation the Dynamo switched to with the arrival of Garcia last summer, which ignited the second half surge that eventually led to the team making the MLS Cup Final.

With the team's current slump, Kinnear brought back much revered 4-3-3 formation. Only this time, the change proved futile. You can't really judge the switch as a complete failure though. When half the team is missing and your best forward - Will Bruin - is moved to the midfield, it's generally not a good sign.

Perhaps the Dynamo could have lined up 10 players on defense and salvaged a 0-0 draw. Let's hope that point doesn't come back to bite the Orange at the end.

2. Young duo put Dynamo on the board

The Dynamo's lone goal was a great combination between the two of the club's newest additions. Alex Lopez, who was making his first MLS start, played a beautiful loft to Jason Johnson. The rookie Johnson was able to bring it down softly, and push the ball to the near post for the 1-1 tie.

The Dynamo had a couple of chances in before the half to take the lead, but couldn't find the back of the net. The second half was, well...

1. Miraculously, they're still in the playoff hunt

Even with this slew of misfortune, the Dynamo are still in the playoff hunt. They are currently tied with the New England Revolution for the fifth and final spot in the Eastern Conference with 37 points. They are, however, on the outside looking in, as the Revs hold the advantage with a much higher goal differential.

On the plus side, the Dynamo still have a game in hand on the rest of the East, and are only two points behind the fourth seeded Philadelphia Union - who they face next week in PPL Park.

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