Mar 11, 2012; Carson, CA, USA; Houston Dynamo defenseman Andre Hainault (31) celebrates with his team after he scores a goal against the Chivas USA during the second half at the Home Depot Center. The Houston Dynamo defeat Chivas USA 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE
The Dynamo left it late, VERY late, but after Macoumba Kandji forced a corner in the second minute of stoppage time, Andre Hainault took advantage after Dan Kennedy went to ground blocking Adam Moffat's shot and buried the ball in the open net to give Houston their first season opening victory since 2006.
Let's start with the positive. Road clean sheets are always impressive and considering how the Dynamo defense started out in 2011, this was much, much better.
Dynamo got the best early chance of the match when Geoff Cameron sent a brilliant 40-yard through ball right in to the path of Brian Ching who was promptly run down by Chivas USA defenders and was never able to get a clean shot away. I'd like to think a speed forward like Carr or Kandji would have done better with the opportunity, but we shall never know. In fairness to Ching, breakaways are not his specialty, that was just a unique chance created by an impressive individual effort from Cameron.
Bobby Boswell, not to be outdone by his central defense sidekick, lofted a fabulous offside trap breaking pass to Will Bruin over the Chivas USA defense in the 25th minute. The second-year forward worked in on the Goats goal but was stonewalled by Dan Kennedy with a great save, though Bruin had the entire net to shoot at and he went right at the goalkeeper.
There was a lot of the "shooting it right at the goalkeeper" in this one.
Chivas USA's best chance was in the 40th minute, when Juan Pablo Angel jumped and cheekily volleyed a corner kick off the post. If it had gone in, it would have been a goal of the week candidate at the very least. As it was, the Dynamo went to the locker room lamenting missed chances, while we were left to wonder why Je-Vaughn Watson was getting playing time.
The second half opened with a penalty shout from Chivas USA after Angel made a great diagonal run onto a ball from Nick LaBrocca. Andre Hainault scrambled to cover and while there was some minimal contact with Hainualt's hand on Angel's shoulder, the referee rightfully waived away the protest.
Angel was at it again in the 69th minute, sliding in between Bobby Boswell and Corey Ashe but his diving header off Ante Jazic's cross was just over the bar and the Dynamo dodged a big bullet.
Dan Kennedy was impersonating Superman down the stretch, making key saves on Adam Moffat and Bruin to keep the Dynamo off the scoreboard, but it was his goalpost that denied the best chance for the Dynamo.
Brad Davis found Ching moving towards goal with a pinpoint 30-yard pass, but Ching's volley shot pinged off the goalpost. On the bright side, at least he didn't shoot the ball right at Kennedy.
Hainault's winner in the 92nd minute was a direct result of Carr and Kandji's insertion in the match, allowing the Dynamo to stretch the Chivas USA defense and give their midfield some more space to operate. As good as Ching and Bruin are, they aren't the best forward combination for my money...but I'm just a blogger. As for the goal, not only was the strike clinical, Hainault's first touch was excellent as he took advantage of the insane amount of time he had sitting in front of the goal.
With six more matches on the road ahead, the Dynamo will be happy to take three points away from Carson today.