For the second straight match, the Dynamo defense held their opponent scoreless, earning their sixth shutout of the season.
For the second straight match, the Dynamo offense was held scoreless, only their fifth time during this 2012 MLS campaign.
Not all was bad for the Dynamo on Saturday, who did earn a point virtue of their scoreless draw against Sporting Kansas City. For one, their defense proved the four goals they allowed in their previous road trip to Montreal was more of a fluke than the norm.
More importantly, the Dynamo got to look at their "team of the future" in a difficult road environment -- such as the sold-out Livestrong Sporting Park. Since their 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union on June 30, the Dynamo have moved to hybrid 4-3-3 formation, as opposed to their traditional 4-4-2. In layman's terms, these definitions refer to the how the players are categorized, with the defense numbers first. In the new Dynamo system, they use four defenders, three midfielders, and three forwards; compared to the old system with four midfielders and two forwards.
Now the 4-3-3 formation is known to be more of a fast-paced, more offensive formation. So why have the Dynamo been held scoreless in the last two outings? For one, it's only a 4-3-3 formation when the Dynamo have possession of the ball. Their outside forwards -- Mac Kandji and Boniek Garcia -- play under Will Bruin, giving them more space to run at defenders and create havoc. But when the Dynamo lose possession, they drop down to the midfield and play a 4-5-1, clogging up the center of the pitch.
Boniek Garcia has started and finished all three matches since his arrival, coincidentally the start of the 4-3-3. One man who hasn't started since that time is Brian Ching, who has been reduced to coming off the bench. With the new formation, Garcia and Kandji's speed are needed on the wings, leaving only room for one target man. Bruin would be the obvious choice, given he leads the Dynamo with eight goals on the season. Having Ching come off the bench has proven to be valuable. It paid immediate dividends in the Philly match when he scored the game-winning penalty kick. More importantly, his holdup play and leadership prove to be a valuable asset when the game reaches its final minutes.
The Dynamo have also seen what the possibility of life without US international Geoff Cameron would be like in the defensive end. Cameron's been out the past the couple of matches with a left hamstring strain, and yet the defense has posted two straight shutouts with the emergence of Jermaine Taylor. The Jamaican international was in total beast mode on Saturday, breaking up plays all over the field. Although not as precise and pin-point as Cameron, Taylor does have the ability to pass outside of the backfield. His emergence in central defense could be huge for the Dynamo, especially if the rumors of Cameron leaving for the EPL's Stoke City are true.
These last two ties maybe are disappointments for fans, but the team sees it as a positive for team defense. As defender Bobby Boswell said, "the whole team, we had kind of gotten away from team defense for a while, and now the teams working really hard together and that's why you are seeing the results go the way they are." If the offense can find a way to click under the 4-3-3 formation, it could be start of something special at BBVA Compass Stadium.