Road wins aren’t easy to come by in MLS, even more so when you’re missing 5 of your players and sporting a 3 game winless streak. But this Dynamo team got it done tonight at Avaya Stadium, securing 3 points they desperately needed to claw their way back into the playoff hunt.
Both the Dynamo and the San Jose Earthquakes started the match on the outside looking in. The Quakes needed 3 points to squeak past Sporting KC into the 6th spot, but with their win tonight, the Dynamo sit just one point behind them.
Houston was short-staffed on this road trip, with rookie Rob Lovejoy out with a hamstring injury and Jermaine Taylor, Giles Barnes, Boniek Garcia and Luis Garrido off on international duty. San Jose was also missing Chris Wondolowski and Cordell Cato due to national team call-ups.
The Dynamo took a lead early, when Ricardo Clark headed home his 4th goal of the season off of a beautiful cross from Alex in the 10th minute. San Jose had an opportunity to equalize a few minutes later off of a strike from Fatai Alashe but a clutch save from Tyler Deric, in his first game back after an illness, preserved the Dynamo lead.
The Dynamo controlled possession early, but after the goal by Ricardo Clark, San Jose really pressed the attack. After winning a free kick on the edge of the box, Victor Bernardez just barely missed scoring on a rocket that rattled off the corner of the goalpost in the 32nd minute.
Head Referee Sorin Stoica had a tough time taking criticism from Dynamo Players, and issued yellow cards to Tyler Deric and DaMarcus Beasley for talking too much, but which were both officially listed as "Yellow Card: Other Reason". Forward Will Bruin got lucky to avoid one when he yelled at Stoica "Open your eyes! Open them!" just before halftime.
The Quakes pressured Houston’s back line mightily to start the second half, and created several quality chances, including a deflected header by Clarence Goodson. The Dynamo responded in kind, with a couple of close shots from Brad Davis and Ricardo Clark.
Making his debut in this match was Rasheed Olabiyi, who was acquired by the Dynamo on Thursday. Olabiyi is a Nigerian midfielder who previously played for Enyimba in the Nigerian Premier League.
In the 76th minute, the Dynamo had an opportunity to put it away when Will Bruin couldn’t finish a 3x2 advantage off of a counter, but he more than made up for it in the 80th. A bad pass from Sanna Nyassi set up a Dynamo counterattack, and the Dancing Bear tapped in his 8th of the season off a cross from Lionel Miranda.
After letting one slip away at home last week against the Chicago Fire, the Dynamo will look to build some momentum off this victory, when they continue their road trip on to Real Salt Lake next Saturday.
Houston: Ricardo Clark (10’), Will Bruin (81’)
Houston (4-5-1): Tyler Deric, Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, Raul Rodriguez, DaMarcus Beasley, Alex (Leonel Miranda 70’), Nathan Sturgis, Ricardo Clark, Alexander Lopez (Rasheed Olabiyi 79’), Brad Davis, Will Bruin (Mauro Manotas 90+1’)
San Jose (4-3-3): David Bingham, Marvell Wynne, Víctor Bernárdez, Clarence Goodson, Shaun Francis, Matias Perez Garcia (Mark Sherrod 68"), Fatai Alashe, Tommy Thompson, Sanna Nyassi, Quincy Amarikwa (Michael Fucito 89’), Shea Salinas (Leandro Barrera 79’)
Yellow: Tyler Deric (31’), DaMarcus Beasley (32’), Raul Rodriguez (45+2’), Nathan Sturgis (45+3’)