Behind another outstanding performance from Tally Hall, the Houston Dynamo survived an avalanche of late pressure to preserve a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls.
Despite spending the first 10 minutes of the match on their back heels, Houston began to get the better of play generating the first of two great chances. Will Bruin found space on the right and sends a cross that Cameron redirects, forcing an excellent save from Bouna Coundoul with Brian Ching standing right in front of him hoping for a rebound.
The Dynamo continued to generate the better chances and in the 24th minute, Ching got the ball on the left and banged it off the crossbar from about 10 yards out. Coundoul was beat and it was a golden opportunity missed for the forward.
Ching was huge for the Dynamo, returning from a hamstring injury, but he wouldn't last the half. After colliding with Coundoul in the air and taking a knee to the side, Ching left the match in the 39th minute with an apparent rib injury. New
York Jersey "fans" showed their typical lack of class and respect, booing Ching and chanting "U.S. reject" at him as he lay on the field injured.
It wasn't a flashy first half, it was played at a low tempo, but that's exactly what the Dynamo wanted. After surviving an opening salvo from the Red Bulls, Houston settled and were able to hold possession and more importantly, dictate the pace of play. Overall, it was a positive half and the kind of play we've been hoping to see.
Of course, as typically happens, when you praise a team's play on the first half they manage to go to pieces within the first minute of the second half. Dwayne De Rosario, who was subbed on at halftime, found Dane Richards with a long pass from the midfield that split the Dynamo defense and left Richard alone on Hall.
Fortunately, the Dynamo didn't hang their heads and two minutes later the offense responded.
Will Bruin flicked on a header passed Rafa Marquez that found Cam Weaver with space and full run. Weaver deftly chipped Coundoul and equalized the match at 1-1. It was a wonderful touch from Weaver to beat the Red Bulls keeper.
After such controlled first half, the first 10 minute of the second half was like watching soccer on fast forward. Play went back and forth as both teams generated dangerous chances on goal. Will Bruin and Geoff Cameron both had opportunities to put the Dynamo in front, but were unable to finish.
After the tempo slowed again through the middle portion of the second half, the final 15 minutes ramped the energy right back up as New York frantically tried to find the winning goal. However, just like last week in Seattle, Tally Hall was the hero for the Dynamo.
In the 70th minute, Thierry Henry got the ball on the far post but Hall made a lightning fast reaction to deny Hery from point blank range...but Hall wasn't done. Ten minutes later, Lindpere unleashed a blast from about 25 yards out that Hall caught easily thanks to excellent positioning.
Late in the match, Thierry Henry proved his game has devolved in to little more than being a dirty cheat. After the ball went out for a Dynamo goal kick, Henry kicked out at Hunter Freeman, taking hisfeet out from under him. As expected, Henry was not disciplined by Ricardo Salazar. It was a dirty play that came out of frustration and the lack of reaction from the officials stunk of "star treatment" type situation. Of course I can't prove it, but can sure complain about.
The Red Bulls continued their assault on the Dynamo goal in to stoppage time but Tally Hall stood strong yet again. After Henry beat Freeman in the air and directed a header that seemed destined for the back of the net, Hall elevated and pushed the ball over the crossbar.
Another road point and another man of the match performance from Tally Hall. More importantly, the Dynamo looked more organized and continue the trend of making improvement in each match.