Dynamo defensive shuffle reflects outcome

Back line concedes just four shots on goal in win vs. Seattle

HOU_20110730_Freeman

Photo Credit: 
Chris Beveridge / Houston Dynamo

A week after a tough 3-0 loss to Chivas USA, the Houston
Dynamo defense bounced back with a strong performance against the
Seattle Sounders last weekend.

Facing one of the toughest and most dangerous attacking clubs in the
league, the Dynamo employed a game plan centered on shutting down space
for Seattle all over the field. From the opening whistle, Houston showed
hustle and energy while moving around the pitch and limiting Seattle’s
chances.

“They had some decent looks, but when you throw Adam Moffat in there, we
won a lot of first and second balls,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear.
“As a group, we just pressured them all over the field better than we’ve
done.”

The outcome of their increased effort was limiting Seattle to four
shots on goal (two of which came in stoppage time) and holding the Sounders to an Álvaro Fernández penalty
kick as their lone tally on the night.

 

“I think we were kind of fed up with how the mood was,” said defender
Bobby Boswell. “It was enough talk, and we felt like we needed to just
go out and win. We had the mentality that we needed to start being
tougher on the field and in practice. Everyone just wanted to get it
done.”

That team mentality was on display Saturday. Kinnear shuffled the
lineup again, reinserting Boswell and right back Hunter Freeman into the
starting lineup for the first time since June 18.

“We just felt it was time for another change, and I think they did
well,” Kinnear said. “Bobby did well. He’s a good communicator, and he
won some good balls in the air and was good on set pieces. Hunter’s a
good passer of the ball.”

With the back line set with six solid contributors — including Andre
Hainault
, Corey Ashe, Kofi Sarkodie, and Jermaine Taylor, along with
Boswell and Freeman — the trick now is carrying over their success from
Saturday night into the future. With injuries to Will Bruin and Danny
Cruz
hitting the club’s attacking core, the continued ascension of the
defense is necessary for the Dynamo if they are to make a run to the
playoffs.

“It’s tough to keep it going, but it has to be done,” Boswell said.
“Dom’s moving guys around, but it’s not about that but more about the
mentality as a whole. If guys come out this week and think we’re hot stuff
because we won a game against a good team, it’s not going to work. We
need to keep going and pushing ourselves to do the right things.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.