According to Tally Hall the Houston Dynamo were looking at Sunday’s home game as a “beacon” for three points. After falling to the New Red Bulls 4-1 the only light that shined was on Houston’s problems stopping goals.
After playing an even first half that finished 1-1, the Dynamo were undone by a New York team that was quick and deadly with its attacks. The result was three Red Bulls goals in the second half and another in a line of deflating losses that are starting to add up for a Dynamo team that’s looking for a defensive fix during what has proven a rough stretch.
“The chances they got were not just half-chances; they were breakaways or clear shots,” Hall said. “If the other team is taking chances and getting half-chances and running away with the ball with difficult shot, that’s one thing. But when it’s a one-on-one, there’s been a breakdown.
"We’ve had a handful of games now on the trot where we haven’t been good enough,” Hall continued. “I think there’s a common thread.”
Without several key players, including Boniek Garcia, Brad Davis and defenders Corey Ashe, Jermaine Taylor and Eric Brunner, Houston was picked apart and Houston manager Dominic Kinnear wasn’t using the absences as an excuse.
“You have to deal with it,” Kinnear said. “You can’t talk about people who aren’t here. We know they’re not here, but you can’t talk about them because they can’t help you at that moment.”
The bigger issue was Houston’s dealing with New York’s skillful passing; which was spearheaded by Thierry Henry.
“When the ball finds Thierry Henry’s feet he knows exactly what he wants to do with it,” Kinnear said. “He was the catalyst of them breaking out correctly today.”
Thanks in part to Henry's vision on Sunday, the Dynamo have now conceded 12 goals in their last four MLS matches while scoring only two. The four given up on Sunday were the most allowed at home in Dynamo history.
“We’ve given up five and four in two of our last four games,” Kinnear said. “There’s three parts to the game, attacking, defending and transition as they call it or when the ball turns over. When one is not doing well you have to address it with the group.”
The poor run of form comes at the worst time for Houston. With seven games remaining, Sunday’s performance further trims Houston’s margin for error to get to the postseason. The loss to the Red Bulls will have Houston soul searching to try and turn around a season that started with high hopes.
“You just have to work hard,” Kinnear said. “You cannot accept what’s been going on. You have to show them film, realize and talk about how we can fix this.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo. Follow him on twitter at @DarrellLovell.