In what turned out to be a crazy game, United overcame the elements, injuries and a resilient Dynamo squad en route to a 3-2 victory on Saturday night. A Maicon Santos brace was the difference in this game as he and Chris Pontius formed a formidable 1-2 up top for United. United's attack really helped overcome the loss suffered along the back line. We still don't know how long Emiliano Dudar will be out, but should hear something this week. It looked like his left hamstring.
Goalkeeper Joe Willis - 4
This was not a strong performance from Willis -- who up until now, had been quite steady. Willis wasn't at fault for the first goal, but the second was an easy save he should have made. Willis struggled to hold on to the ball all night, even on non-threatening set pieces.
Defender Daniel Woolard - 7.5
Woolard played his best game of the year Saturday. He got credit for assisting the second and third goals and also did a solid job on the defensive end, both before and after the injury to Dudar. Woolard did well to shut down the right flank of Houston, especially in the first half. Woolard could have marked better on Houston's first goal, but was left in no-man's land by Robbie Russell.
Defender Emiliano Dudar - 7
Dudar was well on his way to his best game of the season, and it was clear the back line was missing him once he went out. Stepped up on a key play early on and prevented Houston from having a one-on-one with Willis. Coach Ben Olsen said after the game that "it didn't look good" and I still haven't found a translation from him in the locker room.
Defender Brandon McDonald - 8.5
Simon Phoenix was on his game tonight. Unlike his namesake, he kept cool under pressure and was dominating in the air all night. It felt like every time Houston played a ball in the box (save the first goal, which he had his man covered), he cleared the ball away. McDonald also had the key long ball that sprung Pontius on the opening goal. Definitely his best performance of the season.
Defender Robbie Russell - 5.5
It wasn't Russell's best effort, but given the circumstances, Russell responded. While at Right Back, Russell didn't have any mistakes, and did manage to get forward with the attack. While at Center Back, Russell struggled during stretches and was late getting over on both goals.
Defender/Midfielder Perry Kitchen - 4.5
It was a rough night for Kitchen. He had the costly turnover that led to Dynamo's second goal, and also didn't close down quick enough to stop the cross into the box on the first goal. Kitchen did play well in the defensive midfield role he was in before the injury to Dudar, which is why he wasn't lower in the ratings.
Midfielder Nick DeLeon - 6
Given how fast he started the season, we should have expected a game where DeLeon didn't end up on the score sheet. DeLeon was quiet, but did track back well on defense. His set pieces were a little off tonight, but that could have been contributed to the weather as much as anything else.
Midfielder Danny Cruz - 4
Cruz admitted after the game that "I was nervous going up against my old family" and it showed. He got an early yellow card and ended up being substituted in the 65th minute. Cruz has been quiet the last few games, but this was a sub-par performance, and he admitted so after the game. He was beaten after attempting a tackle for Houston's first goal.
Forward Dwayne De Rosario - 8.5
That was one way to score your first goal of the season, De Ro. De Rosario put in a cross that just narrowly missed Chris Pontius for a header, and instead curled in for his first goal of the year, and a goal that put United in the lead 2-1. De Rosario was coming back deep to get the ball, and did extremely well in distribution. Could have easily had the highlight of the night -- possibly year -- late in the game where he beat four defenders down the field, had a give-and-go with Woolard, but couldn't beat Hall for the goal.
Forward Chris Pontius - 8
Pontius made a spectacular play to get around the goalie and pick out Maicon Santos for United's opening goal. He also was credited, albeit initially before the replay, for United's second goal. Pontius and Santos really are firing on all cylinders right now and working off each other very well. Coach Ben Olsen said after the game that he "finally sees Pontius as a true striker."
Forward Maicon Santos - 9 (Man of the Match)
Very hard to pick out a negative in his game tonight. Santos held up well, played well of Pontius and scored two pretty goals with his head. If anything, he bombed from distance tonight when he could have taken another dribble or two in. I guess that's not much to complain about, really.
Midfielder Marcelo Saragosa - 6
Saragosa wasn't nearly as sharp as Kitchen in shutting down the midfield, but did have a very crucial blocked cross late in the game. Performed well in long relief.
Midfielder Andy Najar - 6.5
His fresh legs off the bench provided a spark, and was on the pitch for United's game-winning goal. Tried to get too cute, but his knack for attacking can't be faulted.
Midfielder Lewis Neal - Incomplete
Came on for the Party Boy in the 83rd minute, game was nearly out of hand by then. Played more than both Designated Players, so again, there's that.