Isn’t it a great feeling that the Houston Dynamo we know and love come playoff time showed up last night?
Much has been said about the character of the Dynamo over this season – mixed results produced mixed feelings from fans, media, and probably the club at times. But the Dynamo did exactly what they needed to do on Halloween night – start strong and play well for a full 90 minutes on the road. Behind a brace from second year forward Will Bruin, Houston left Chicago with a 2-1 victory and advanced to face the Eastern Conference leader Sporting Kansas City.
Coming into the game, Houston knew there were a couple of things (obvious things) they needed to do to ensure victory. Netting the first goal, getting good service from Brad Davis and Boniek Garica, Will Bruin and Calen Carr would need to be mistake free, and the defense needed to contain the speed we knew Chicago would throw at us. For 90 minutes, Houston did all those things – and got rewarded with a well deserved win. Brad Davis sent in a corner kick in the 12’ and Will Bruin found himself unmarked due to a bit of luck. Chicago defender Jalil Anibaba slipped right before the ball found the head of Bruin. Bruin placed the ball perfectly past Sean Johnson for the game’s first goal.
Just 18 seconds into the second half, former Fire midfielder Calen Carr put the nail in the coffin. His through ball to a streaking Will Bruin set the Dancing Bear up perfectly. Bruin buried the chance and that goal would be the difference. Chicago didn’t go down without a fight – something we knew would happen.
Alex put the game back in reach for the Fire in the 83’ with a nice shot past Tally Hall. It was too little too late for the Fire though, as they couldn’t find that goal would draw the clubs level. Here are a couple of thoughts on the match. I mentioned in the preview that Adam Moffat and Ricardo Clark would be key to shut down Chris Rolfe and control the midfield. That’s exactly what they did. Clark has some outstanding plays throughout the game, and Moffat quietly had a great game.
Brad Davis and Boniek Garcia were excellent for Houston and created chances throughout the night. Garcia is scary good and is so calm on the ball under pressure. He seems to just glide through or around defenders in the toughest circumstances.
Will Bruin may have scored a brace and will surely get a lot of attention from his outstanding performance, but Tally Hall is the man of the match for me. While the Dynamo were the better team for the majority of the game, Chicago has some excellent chances that Hall saved. It’s was interesting to see the clear difference between Sean Johnson and Hall – Hall surely should be in the UNMNT mix, while Johnson is and looked shaky in such a big game. In the end, our prize is another shot at Sporting Kansas City.
Last year, we advanced past SKC after a 2-0 win at Livestrong Park. While I think Houston players and fans feel a bit better about this opponent than Chicago, this is definitely not the same team we beat last year. With that being said, we did however, get two draws at Livestrong Park this year and a win here at BBVA Compass Stadium, so this match does seem even – even if it number one versus five. The Dynamo will host Sporting Kansas City at BBVA Compass Stadium on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. CST.
We’ll see you there.