Behind goals from Cam Weaver, Bobby Boswell and Will Bruin, the Houston Dynamo earned their first victory of the 2011 season, defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 in front of 12,047 at Robertson Stadium.
It was a nearly perfect first half for the Dynamo. They were controlling possession, making good passes, creating chances and generated two goals. Danny Cruz was all over the place for Houston hitting the crossbar with a missile from 30 yards out, putting a shot wide on a one-on-one break at a difficult angle and getting the assist on the second goal.
Notice I said nearly perfect?
The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 36th minute off their second corner of the match. Brad Davis sent a short corner in that Bobby Boswell flicked on to the far post, finding Cam Weaver in space who buried the shot past Whitecaps goalkeeper Jay Nolly.
Just two minutes later, poor making in the box allowed Vancouver to equalize as Andre Hainault appeared to lose Camilo Sanvezzo who beat Tally Hall over the left shoulder to tie the match 1-1. My immediate reaction to the goal was that of a familiar frustration. How many times in 2010 did we see the Dynamo cough up a goal on an opponent's only good chance of a half? It was a point Dominic Kinnear stressed many times and a lesson that still hasn't seemed to sink in properly with his defense.
It's not the fact the Dynamo gave up a goal, it happens. My concern is with how the goal was scored and the the fact that we saw just the same type of event way too many times last season to not get at least a little panicky.
Fortunately, Houston didn't linger on the mistake and answered in the 42nd minute. This time Danny Cruz sent a pinpoint pass to a streaking Bobby Boswell who headed that ball past a defenseless Nolly. No doubt head coach Teitur Thordarson was less than happy with his defense for allowing a defender to make an uncontested run right through the middle of their penalty area.
It was a nice response after the defensive lapse but I'd rather not being seeing those kinds of mistakes at all.
Scary moment at the end of the first half after a collision between Camilo and Hainault left the Canadian defender bleeding from a wound above his eye. He returned in the second half.
The second half opened with Tally Hall making his first save of the match. I only mention it because of the veritable shooting gallery atmosphere Hall had been subjected to against Seattle and New York. I'm sure the Dynamo goalkeeper enjoyed the decreased work load.
Play was more balanced in the second half with both teams getting time in possession compared to the first 45 minutes that saw the Dynamo dominate the ball. It felt like the Dynamo backed off a bit choosing to absorb a little more pressure versus the aggressive attacking style we saw in the first half. Despite the more back and forth nature of play, neither team was able to generate any particularly good chances. The match's flow definitely lost fluidity and became a more sloppy and physical affair.
The Dynamo nearly got a third goal the 70th minute as Will Bruin got a little space in the box and forced a nice save from Nolly. Plenty of power on the shot but Bruin could have used a bit more accuracy. Still an excellent chance for the Dynamo rookie.
Bruin would break through in the 77th minute. A long pass from Brad Davis beat the Whitecaps defense and Bruin used a fantastic first touch to beat Nolly who was miles off his line and then bury the shot from a difficult angle for his first career MLS goal, giving the Dynamo a 3-1 lead. It was Bruin's first career MLS goal.
The three points at home are huge but the most important thing for me to come out of the match was the Dynamo finally generating a consistent attack and scoring goals with Brian Ching out of the lineup. We all know Ching can do, but the ultimate success of this team could come down to how they play without him if his injury struggles continue.