MLS Regular Season
It's been four weeks since the Dynamo jumped up to the No. 2 spot in the MLSsoccer.com Power Rankings. Since then, the club has gone 0-2-2, and although they came home with four points in their first two CONCACAF Champions League road matches, they have been unable to maintain their earlier form in league play. Last week, the Dynamo were placed in the fifth spot in the weekly rankings. This week, following Houston's 3-1 loss at the Chicago Fire, the Dynamo were placed ninth. Here is what the writers at MLSsoccer.com had to say about the Dynamo:
Their nosedive in the Power Rankings (and standings) coincides with Mac Kandji's nosedive in form. To make the 4-3-3 work, you need wingers who can beat their man both with and without the ball, threaten goal themselves and make quick decisions when double-teamed. Kandji's fallen short on those last two fronts over the past month.
A little harsh, but other writers seem to agree with how the league views the Dynamo's slide. Over at SI.com, Avi Creditor puts the Dynamo in the eighth spot of his rankings. ESPN.com's Jeff Carlisle is a little more optimistic about the Dynamo, only dropping them two spots to seventh in his ranking. Lastly, Ridge Mahoney of Soccer America has not jumped off the Dynamo bandwagon, moving Houston to No. 5 in his ranking.
So what do you think? Do you agree with Ridge, Jeff, Avi or MLSsoccer? Or do you have the Dynamo elsewhere in you ranking? Let us know!
Brad Davis' left-footed strike in the 19th minute of Sunday's match has been nominated for the AT&T Goal of the Week for Week 24. The Dynamo midfielder received a square pass from Boniek Garcia, took one touch and fired it into the upper left-hand corner of the net past a diving Andy Gruenebaum. The goal was Davis' sixth of the season, which tied a career high that he set in 2003 as a member of the Dallas Burn.
This morning, MLSsoccer.com unveiled their annual poll to see who are the top 24 players under the age of 24. In 2010, Seattle Sounders striker Fredy Montero earned the No. 1 ranking. Last year, FC Dallas and U.S. men's national team midfielder Brek Shea took home the title.
In previous years, the vote was determined by a select group of panelists. This year, fans will have the opportunity to voice their opinions. The fan vote will count for 10 percent of the ballot. The other 90 percent will derive from the votes of a panel of media members and the MLSsoccer.com editorial staff.
In the first two years of the vote, no Dynamo player saw representation in the top 24. Could this be the first year a Dynamo player breaks through? Eligible Dynamo players include: Will Bruin, Warren Creavalle, Alex Dixon, Erich Marscheider, Brian Ownby, Colin Rolfe, Kofi Sarkodie and Josue Soto.
If you are talking about the contest on Twitter, be sure to use #24U24.
Come on Dynamo fans, let's take to the polls and have your voice be heard!
The Houston Dynamo traveled to Red Bull Arena carrying a five-game winning streak and an eight-game unbeaten streak. After 90 minutes, neither streak remained intact as the Red Bulls defeated the men in orange 2-0. It was the first defeat for Houston since a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Impact on July 23. It was also the first time the Dynamo allowed more than one goal in a match since the Montreal loss. Along with the Dynamos' run up the Eastern Conference standings, Houston also made a strong push in the weekly power rankings, coming in at No. 2 ahead of the showdown in Harrison. After the loss, though, the writers at MLSsoccer.com knocked Houston down a notch to No. 3. They had this to say about the current state of the Dynamo:
Houston's unbeaten run had to end sometime, and it makes sense that it happened at RBNY, who are the league's only other side unbeaten at home. The Dynamo still put up a quality fight, and with better finishing – their one ongoing concern – could have come away with a point.
ESPN.com's Jeffrey Carlisle, who moved the Dynamo to the top spot after their dismantling of New York on August 3, dropped Houston one spot to No. 2. Carlilse moved the San Jose Earthquakes back to the top spot, which is tough to argue with after the club stole another three points with a last-minute goal at Buck Shaw Stadium. Over at SI.com, Avi Creditor was a little more harsh on Dominic Kinnear's men, dropping them two spots to No. 4.
So where do you put the Dynamo after week 23 of the MLS season? Are they still in your top 5?
Friday's 2-0 win over the New York Red Bulls has been called one of the Dynamo's best performances of the season, and it shows in this week's Castrol Top 20 rankings. Four Dynamo players - Jermaine Taylor, Tally Hall, Andre Hainault, Boniek Garcia - were including in the list this week.
Taylor was rated the highest out of the men in orange at No. 3, while Hall came in at No. 12, Hainault ranked at No. 16 and Garcia rounded it out at No. 17. Taylor, Hall and Hainault stopped one of the better attacking forces in the league last weekend while posting the defense's third straight shutout. Boniek continued his impressive form in the midfield since coming to MLS, outshining fellow Designated Players Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill under the lights of BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Castrol Index tracks every move on the field and assesses whether it has a positive or negative impact on a team's ability to score or concede a goal. Each week, Castrol ranks the 20 best performances of the previous fixtures.
The opponents keep going down, and the Dynamo keep going up in the Power Rankings. The New York Red Bulls were the latest victims after the 2-0 dismantling at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night, with goals from Jermaine Taylor and the red-hot Calen Carr. They'll get another crack at it this Friday at Red Bull Arena, but for now it's a five-game winning streak and eight games unbeaten for the Dynamo as they sit even with Sporting Kansas City at the top of the Eastern Conference with 40 points.
For all of that, MLSsoccer.com has nudged the Orange up a spot to No. 2, although they admitted it was a very close call with San Jose for the top spot in the Power Rankings. Here's what they had to say:
Houston are playing the league's best soccer right now, and they absolutely dismantled New York last Friday. No team in MLS history has adapted to the 4-3-3 as quickly as Dominic Kinnear's men – it's like they've been playing it for years.
Elsewhere around the web, both Jeffrey Carlisle at ESPN.com and the Soccer By Ives gang have vaulted the Dynamo to the No. 1 spot in their rankings, while Avi Creditor of SI.com still has them at No. 2.
What do you think? Do the Dynamo deserve the top spot, or do they need another result to get past the Earthquakes? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
And don't forget to tune in to NBC Sports Network this Friday at 7 p.m. CT to watch your first-place Dynamo go up against the Red Bulls one more time.
The Houston Dynamo Academy, presented by Statoil, arrived in Seattle on Thursday for the annual Generation adidas Cup. The Dynamo U-15s and U-17s did a light training session on Thursday in preparation for Friday's matches. Upon returing to the hotel, the boys were treated to a few minutes with one of the magicians who was staying at the hotel preparing for one of his weekend performances. Our man on the ground Ernest Carmona will provide us updates and photos throughout the week. Check out the first few photos from Day 1.