The Houston Dynamo hope to use the momentum of their first victory of the Wade Barrett era, and their first in 5 games, to propel them to their first victory on the road against Orlando City SC. Although Orlando currently sits just 1 spot away from a playoff spot in the East, they're just 3 points above the Dynamo who sit in the bottom of the Western Conference. Orlando's troubles stem from some of the same problems as the Dynamo: road woes, but they've maintained an unbeaten record at home. They also recently fired its head coach and will be without their star designated player Kaka which should make things a bit easier for the Dynamo to claim 3 points on the road. Before the game could begin it was delayed 15 minutes due to lightning in the area, but it resumed shortly afterwards.
The first 10 minutes of play were sloppy by both clubs as each side tried to nervously possess and advance the ball up the field which resulted in plenty of turnovers. The best chances by each side early on were corners that were poorly taken. Cyle Larin would take a shot in the 13th minute after the Dynamo failed to clear another corner kick, but his shot was well wide.
Alex Lima nearly saw an early card in the 14th minute, one that would suspend him the next game due to yellow card accumulation, for a late challenge on Cristian Higuita. Alex would have the closest chance for the Dynamo up to this point coming in the 20th minute as a breakaway opportunity by Alex had him take a shot that was low and near the corner of the goal, but Joe Bendik was able to get there and push the ball away for a Dynamo corner kick. Minutes later Raul Rodriguez would come up big with a defensive play as Brek Shea's cross from the left side of the field would drop near Cyle Larin, but before it could get to the reigning rookie of the year, Rodriguez got to the ball and knocked it away from danger.
Orlando City began to mount a bit of pressure as they possessed through the Dynamo midfield and into our defensive third of the field. The ball fell to Kevin Alston who made a run behind DaMarcus Beasley and Alston's cross or pass was well off the mark in the 33rd minute to give the Dynamo back the ball.
Shea delivered another dangerous cross to Cyle Larin in the 41st minute, but Tyler Deric was able to get a hand on it to prevent the ball going to Larin and the ball was quickly cleared from danger by a defender. Bruin would have his own chance as he dribbled through traffic to force a low save in the 43rd minute earning the Dynamo a corner.
Both teams would enter their respective locker rooms tied at 0-0 going into halftime. The Dynamo and Orlando each had some close moments in on goal, but build up play and service to forwards was generally lacking.
The start to the 2nd half began with a close chance by Kevin Molino in the 50th minute, but Tyler Deric was alert to the play and got off his line to deny Molino's effort out for a corner.
Larin had another run on goal in the 61st minute where he was shoulder to shoulder with Raul Rodriguez who forced Larin's touch wide and Deric was able to get on top of the ball before Larin. Sheanon Williams would come on for DaMarcus Beasley in the 67th minute as Beasley appeared to come off with an injury.
As the game continued the problems of the first half continued as both sides struggled to make it through their opponent's midfield. This slowed the game and many of the chances created came from set pieces and long crosses sent with hope.
Boniek would get a curled effort that went just over the top corner of the far post following an Andrew Wenger cross in the 81st minute. In the 82nd minute Shea crossed a ball that glanced off the hand of Jalil Anibaba just outside of the right side of the 18 yard box, but the referee did not blow his whistle which infuriated the home crowd.
Another big no call by the ref came in the 87th minute when Tyler Deric came out of his box to get to a ball before Cyle Larin with Larin going down from some contact. The reply showed that Larin was the one that created the contact on Deric, but it was a nervous moment as Deric has had more than his fair share of cards this season.
In the 89th minute a turnover in midfield led to the best chance all night for either side as Chaco found Giles Barnes whose low shot went off the post. In the 90th minute Larin was 1v1 with Deric, but Deric slammed down the ball with his fists to bounce the ball to safety.
The game would end in a 0-0 draw with both sides deciding to dial up the pressure and chances in the final few minutes, but quality goalkeeping and poor finishing ensured a level ending. Dynamo fans should be a little upset by not getting 3 points and putting in a better performance, but credit Orlando for disrupting the midfield which was a huge battlefield in this game.
The Dynamo next face the LA Galaxy at Stub Hub Center at 10 PM Central on Friday the 15th.
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; DaMarcus Beasley (67' Sheanon Williams), Raul Rodriguez, David Horst, Jalil Anibaba; Collen Warner; Giles Barnes, Alex Lima (58' Andrew Wenger), Ricardo Clark; Oscar Boniek Garcia; Will Bruin (74' Cristian Maidana)
Orlando City SC: Joe Bendik; Luke Boden, David Mateos, Seb Hines, Kevin Alston; Harrison Heath (88' Servando Cassrasco), Cristian Higuita; Brek Shea, Kevin Molino, Darwin Ceren (60' Julio Baptista); Cyle Larin