Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
In an exciting Texas Derby match, the Houston Dynamo fell 3-2 to FC Dallas in a last minute goal by Kenny Cooper.
I'm not quite sure what gamedays at BBVA Compass Stadium will feel like with El Capitán firing off prior to each home game, but I'll know soon enough.
Dynamo nemesis Kenny Cooper sealed the return of El Capitan to Dallas with a 90th minute goal to give FC Dallas a 3-2 victory. Two late Houston goals had tied the game up and it appeared the Dynamo would escape with a draw after giving up two first half goals.
This isn't a fun one to talk about - but here we go.
Based on the stat sheets, Houston had just as many chances as Dallas. Perhaps the best opportunity for the Dynamo to score could have put them in the driver's seat early on. In the 21st minute, Boniek Garcia sent a perfect pass to Giles Barnes who snuck in behind the Dallas defense. Barnes got the ball out wide and had Will Bruin completely unmarked on the opposite side. A simple pass to Bruin would have surely been a goal, but Barnes took the shot and Dallas keeper Raúl Fernández was able to make the save. Bruin was visibly furious with Barnes decision and rightfully so - that was a freebie chance at an early lead.
In the 34th minute, FC Dallas was awarded a free kick for a foul on forward Kenny Cooper. The deep free kick was sent in and found the shoulder of both George John and Bobby Boswell - and was redirected into the corner of the net for a 1-0 Dallas lead.
Just seconds later, Houston dodged a bullet when defender Jermaine Taylor didn't clear a ball quick enough and had the ball stolen and knocked to the feet of Cooper. Cooper took the ball in on goal, but Tally Hall made a big save to keep the score 1-0.
Hall's big save on Cooper quickly was forgot because on the ensuing corner kick, Dallas upped their lead. Midfeilder Ander Jacobson was able to break free from Ricardo Clark and knock in the corner kick to put Dallas up 2-0.
Dallas continued to pressure Houston and looked for the kill when midfielder Jackson had a breakaway and beat Hall as his shot ricocheted off the post. The referee ruled Jackson offside and the goal didn't count.
While Houston is normally the most deadly team in MLS on set pieces, they usually don't struggle in defending them. That wasn't the case on Sunday in the first half.
Through most of the second half, it looked like Houston could leave Dallas with not only a loss, but a second consecutive game without scoring.
But the Dynamo had a few late heroics left in them.
In the 79th minute, Ricardo Clark tapped a ball to Kofi Sarkodie who was able to get behind the Dallas defense and into a good position in the box. Sarkodie battled both defender Matt Hedges and midfielder Michel and was able to get out with the ball. He sent a perfect pass across the box to the newest Dynamo, Andrew Driver. Driver calmly set up shop and fired the ball in past Fernández to close the gap to 2-1.
Just four minutes later, Driver almost got his second of the match. Brian Ching started the sequence with a leading pass to Cam Weaver. Weaver looked up and picked out Driver who was headed straight to the middle of the box. Driver connected, but Fernández was able to block the shot, but wasn't able to wrap up the loose ball.
Brad Davis was streaking towards goal and fired the rebound in the corner of the net for the tying goal. Naturally, Davis ran straight over to the Houston supporters who were vibrant the entire match.
The goal was Davis' first against FC Dallas in 22 games.
With just minutes left of the match, it looked as if the Dynamo mounted a comeback and would escape with a point against Dallas and spoil the party for the home fans.
Then it happened - Kenny "you know what goes here" Cooper.
Cooper leads all current FC Dallas players with five goals against Houston in his career. Make that six.
In the 90th minute, Cooper brought down a pass (with his arm) in the box and knocked the winning goal past Hall for the winner. It was an obvious handball, but the referee apparently didn't get a look at it as the goal stood. Coopers post game comments about whether it was a handball or not is comical.
In the end, a win is a win and Houston will have to watch Dallas supporters pick up the 19th-century Mountain Howitzer and move it up north on to Frisco for the meantime.
Combining with Wednesday's loss at Santos, the Dynamo have lost both road matches to start the year and given up six goals in two games. While it's early in the season and no time to panic, that doesn't make these last two games less concerning.
Next up for the Dynamo will be two home matches over the next two Saturdays against Vancouver and San Jose. While both will be tough tests, the upcoming road games are the games I'm questioning already. The Dynamo must become a better road team - this should have been learned last year.