It's funny how a 2-0 score line can mean the world of difference. On August 3, the Dynamo's 2-0 home victory against the New York Red Bulls extended their shutout streak to three games, extended their winning streak to five matches, their unbeaten streak to eight matches, and lifted them to first place in the Eastern Conference.
This past Friday night, however, the Red Bulls' 2-0 victory over the Dynamo at Red Bull Arena in New York not only ended all those streaks, but sent the Dynamo from first to third in the East.
The score line itself can also be misleading. When the Dynamo beat the Bulls at BBVA Compass Stadium, they completely overwhelmed the visitors -- who were fortunate enough to only lose by two goals. But the Dynamo's loss at New York was anything but a one-sided match.
The Dynamo kept the match scoreless in the first half of play. It wasn't until the 61st minute when Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson scored from a ball that was headed into the front of the goal from Tim Cahill.
The Dynamo then committed players forward for the last 30 minutes of the match. Newly re-acquired midfielder Ricardo Clark -- who last wore a Dynamo jersey in 2009 -- was brought into the match in the 75th minute. He was able to patrol the defensive third of the field for the Dynamo with his range and versatility, allowing more players to join in on the attack.
Ironically, that's pretty much what doomed the Orange. During second-half stoppage time, the Red Bulls were able to catch the Dynamo in a counter-attack. When Thierry Henry beat the Dynamo's offside trap, he had free break toward goal. Instead of taking the shot, Henry directed a pass to the far post, where a wide-open Jan Gunnar Solli was there to tap in the second goal.
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Dynamo's schedule to get more congested The Dynamo are next in action on Sunday, August 19 against the Columbus Crew at BBVA Compass Stadium. After that, they go almost three weeks where they play games every weekend and midweek.
Their first midweek game is on the 22nd, when they open up CONCACAF Champions League play on the road against Salvadorian side FAS. The Dynamo then come back to Houston to play Toronto FC on the 25th, then travel to Honduras to play Olimpia on the 30th. They'll then travel to play Chicago on September 2, before traveling back to Houston to play second Real Salt Lake on the 6th.
How the Dynamo handle MLS regular season games compared to CCL play is a question for head coach Dominic Kinnear. If the Dynamo can come out this and still be in playoff contention, Kinnear has to be a Coach of the Year candidate.