Welcome to Tally Hall's coming our party!
A tremendous individual performance from the young Dynamo goalkeeper kept the Seattle Sounders at bay and get Houston their first point of the season in a packed and extremely loud Qwest Field. If there were any lingering doubts in Dynamo fans' mind about the off-season decision to give the starting job to Hall, they should be gone after tonight.
For a majority of the match and for nearly the entire first 45 minutes the Sounders launched an all-out assault on the Dynamo goal and thanks to some massive saves from Hall and timely clearances by his defense, the Dynamo kept Seattle out of the goal.
People probably use phrases like "standing on his head" more than is necessary but this is one case when it was entirely appropriate. It was a half all about luck for the Dynamo and the good luck started very early.
The game could have changed in the 3rd minute when Hunter Freeman escaped what should have been a red card, preventing a scoring opportunity as the last defender back. The referee's leniency kept Freeman on the pitch with only a yellow card.
Seattle dominated possession and completely cut-off Geoff Cameron and Brad Davis from the Dynamo's attack minded fullbacks. When Houston did get the ball, poor passing quickly returned it back to the Sounders. Despite the dominance and chance after chance, it was the Dynamo who opened the scoring in the 42nd minute.
As usually happens with one team dominates the game and can't get a goal, the other team takes advantage of the first good chance they get. After a Patrick Ianni foul set-up a Dynamo set piece about 25 yards out, Lovel Palmer unleashed a beautiful free kick that caromed off the crossbar and bounced around the box before falling to Geoff Cameron whose finally got the game's first goal. It wasn't pretty, deflecting off a defender and angling in off the bottom of the crossbar, but it counted and was a much needed boost for Houston after a rough half.
Just how lopsided was the first half? When the teams went to the locker room, Seattle was out-shooting the Dynamo 15-5.
The second half began with considerable more balance in possession between the two teams. While Seattle still got some great chances, Houston was able to hold the ball a bit more and actual move forward in to the final third of the Sounders from time to time. The troubling thing was the Dynamo's sloppy passing which was either from just not being sharp or the extremely wet turf thanks to the rain that started falling just before halftime.
Ramon Hernandez was put in the spotlight in the 74th minute when Andre Hainault made a tremendous tackle on Leo Gonzalez who had broke free on the left side of the box. At full speed it looked like a surefire penalty, but replay showed Hernandez made a fantastic call and correctly awarded a yellow card to Gonzalez for diving.
Kofi Sarkodie appeared to have saved the victory for the Dynamo in the 78th minute when Fredy Montero received a great pass and broken in on Hall. Sarkodie made a spectacular recovery and dispossessed Montero with a pinpoint sliding tackle to force a corner.
However, just a minute later, Seattle finally scored off an unfortunate deflection that found Steve Zakuani all alone in front of the net. Based on the barrage of offense that Hall and the Dynamo had managed to survive all night, a goal was inevitable but a little disappointing.
Considering the poor performance in the first half and the 26 total shots by the Sounders, the Dynamo have to be happy getting out of Seattle with a point.