At last, I get to write about a Dynamo win!
Thanks to an all around solid offensive performance, Houston notched their first win of the 2011 season, defeating the Vancouver Whitecaps 3-1 on Sunday night. We can now exhale. Admit it, like me you had doubts in the back of your mind last night as the Dynamo prepared to face a resilient Whitecaps team without Brian Ching up front. Could the team generate offense and score goals?
Thankfully, the answer was yes and more importantly, it really seemed like this roster is starting to come together and if not for a couple very good saves and some more refined finishing, the Dynamo could have hung 5 or 6 on Vancouver.
All that matters though is the Dynamo have their first win of the season and three points at home.
"It is nice to win at home. It sends them home a little happier than when they showed up last time, and hopefully they want to come back the following week," Do We left the field disappointed three weeks ago against Philadelphia. Everyone is responsible for how we play, and how we tend to our customers, and I thought we played well, we won, and we entertained them
I'm not proclaiming the Dynamo back and ready to win an MLS Cup but we're seeing a progressive improvement by this team both offensively and defensively. Even with the lapse that led to the Whitecaps lone goal, that was a much improved defensive performance and Kinnear will continue to drill this team on the importance of focusing for 90 minutes and staying defensively organized no matter what the circumstances of the match.
For now though, let's revel in the offense.
Danny Cruz was a live wire causing all sorts of problems with his speed, hitting the crossbar on a wicked shot and assisting on Boswell's goal. He looked dangerous and despite a couple moments where he didn't make the right decision, we are starting to see Cruz take the next step in his development and make a serious case to get regular starting minutes.
"Everybody has their strengths, everyone has their weaknesses," Cruz said after the match. "It's no secret that I'm not someone who hits set pieces like brad, but I am going to be out there working hard for 90 minutes and providing a spark."
Cruz was a spark and a big part of why the Dynamo dominated possession and were able keep Vancouver from ever looking comfortable and being able to settle in to their game plan.
The other big story from the night was rookie Will Bruin finally getting his first career goal. It was great to see the joy on his face when he calmly sent the ball in to the empty net after making a deft first touch to get around the charing Jay Nolly.
"Me and Brad made eye contact, he played a great ball," Bruin said. "I made the run and I saw the goalie coming out, knew I was going to get there before him and I took a touch around him...I saw going it going towards the post and I said, please don't hit the post"
It didn't hit the post and Bruin, in only his fourth MLS match got the hardest goal for a new professional forward to get, the first one. Bruin's finish and strong play all night showed fans why the Dynamo traded to get him at the 11th spot in the Super Draft.
"So happy for him (Bruin)," Danny Cruz said. "He's worked real hard and it's always good a smile on his face when he scores. I definitely won't forget and I'm sure he won't either."
I of course can't forget to mention Cam Weaver who scored his second goal is as many league matches, along with Bobby Boswell who played his best match of the season defensively and made a tremendous run to get the Dynamo's second goal of the night.
After being the hero in the last two matches, Tally Hall had a quiet night in goal facing only 5 shots and having to make only two saves. With the lighter workload, Hall had a chance to watch his teammates more closely.
"They were working their butts off all game," Hall said. "It's fun to watch a team when they're doing that well and stringing together passes like that to really close out a game. This is the way we want to play and the way we know we are capable of playing."
So with the first win of the season under their belt, the Dynamo should be energized and confident as they prepare for the New England Revolution who come to town next Sunday in another key early season Eastern Conference match.
The victory vaults Houston from last place in the East to third and while it's a bit early to watch the standings too closely, it's a nice feeling to somewhere other than the bottom.
A new episode of A Podcast Orange will be available tonight as Jordan Wise and I discuss the victory, team news and look ahead to New England. Plus, we'll have some audio from the Dynamo locker room.