Yes, the Houston Dynamo were involved in yet another draw, this time against the San Jose Earthquakes. The difference this time is that Houston actually scored a goal!
Believe it or not, the Dynamo were able to put the ball in the back of the net just before halftime when Alex danced inside the box to give himself a bit of space and slotted the ball home. Unfortunately the game ended 1 – 1 in a hot, humid Sunday night in front of few enough people at BBVA Compass Stadium.
With the defense wrecked due to injuries, Giles Barnes traded and Erick Torres away at the Olympics, everyone expected several changes to the lineup. Instead of last week’s 4-4-2 however, interim head coach Wade Barrett rolled out his more familiar 4-1-4-1 and quality chances were few and far between.
With Will Bruin as the loan striker, the creative onus fell onto Ricardo Clark and Alex, with Christian Maidana on the left and Oscar Garcia on the right. While they moved the ball well, they weren’t able to give Bruin the kind of service he thrives off of.
After a forgettable first half, it seemed destined to end in yet another scoreless draw. Deep into stoppage time, though, Alex took the ball in the ball and danced around a defender before scoring his goal.
The Dynamo were only able to hold onto the lead for a dozen and a half minutes or so, though. After a failed corner kick, the defense didn’t clear the ball well enough. The return service saw the David Horst and Sheanon Williams ball watching, allowing Chris Wondolowski to stroll right by them to tap in the cross.
After both coaches made several changes, the game opened up during the final 15 minutes. The ‘Quakes tried repeatedly to catch the Dynamo on the counter but the defense was able to match them step-for-step.
Jalil Anibaba, making a rare start at center back, made a fantastic tackle to deny one of those counter attacks. Joe Willis wasn’t called into action too many times but was equal to the task.
Newly acquired midfielder Eric Alexander made his debut as a substitute and was decent as part of the trio of central midfielders. Just how much he is used down the stretch will be something to watch.
His presence allowed Clark to push forward and get more involved. This started to pay dividends once Andrew Wenger came into the match late and lined up on the left flank. With a clear option out there, the team was able to move the ball around the box more comfortably. This resulted in the best chance for the Dynamo to find the winning goal.
Garcia received the ball and cut inside at the top of the box, faking out one defender to create some space for himself. He attempted to curl his shot with his left foot but the shot went wide instead.
There was some controversy to the match when Bruin was played behind the defense and went one-v-one with goalkeeper David Bingham in the second half. He was ruled to have been offside though replays showed he might have been on, although given Brui hit his shot straight at the keeper, it looked a wasted chance. There were claims that Bingham could have been whistled for a penalty for tripping up Bruin on the follow through.
That was the second penalty shout for the Dynamo. Early in the first half on a corner kick, David Horst was pushed but was instead whistled for a foul on his marker.
Of note during this game, Ricardo Clark passed the 25,000 minute mark in MLS play. Former teammates Dwayne De Rosario and Brian Mullan are just ahead of him with 25189 and 25528 minutes, respectively. If he continues to get the bulk of the minutes available, he’ll easily pass them both this year.
The all time leader for Major League Soccer is former Dynamo assistant coach Steve Ralston with an amazing 33142. It’s theoretically possible for Clark to catch him, but highly unlikely.
Another record set by the club was the home shut-out streak in league play. Before Wondo scored his goal, the team went 560 minutes without conceding a goal, a record over the 2007 team.
Speaking of Wondo, he finally scored against the Dynamo, a team he had failed to score against. He showed his respect to his former club by not celebrating in front of fans.
Houston travels to Canada to face off against the Montreal Impact on Saturday, August 6. Meanwhile the ‘Quakes return home to play red hot NYCFC for some Friday night action.