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Texas Derby round three: Dynamo come undone after dream start, recover to salvage a draw

Cubo Torres propels comeback while breaking Brian Ching’s scoring record in wild 3-3 affair

MLS: Houston Dynamo at FC Dallas Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What a start, what a finish. In the end, El Capitán will stay in Houston for the time being after a third consecutive draw in the Texas Derby.

Two previous draws in the rivalry and a recent FC Dallas slump meant that Houston had plenty of reason to gun for three points, even with Wilmer Cabrera’s squad rotation. The Dynamo got off to a dream start on Wednesday through 37-year-old Vicente Sánchez but needed a late rally to salvage a point on the road. The Uruguayan’s pressure produced a dreadful error from Dallas defender Matt Hedges and Cubo Torres was off to the races. He then danced inside the box and produced a return ball to Sánchez, who coolly slotted home to grab the lead just 59 seconds into the match.

The next fifteen minutes of play became fairly open with both sides coming close to scoring through long-range efforts. The Dynamo backline looked increasingly shaky as the pace and movement of Kellyn Acosta and Max Urruti orchestrated a decent spell of play for the home team. However, as the match wore on the defense settled in and, when tested, Tyler Deric was a confident presence between the sticks.

Anibaba nearly doubled the Dynamo lead in the 37th minute when a loose ball found him at the back post following a corner, but a Jesse González chest save kept the score at 1-0. Dallas manufactured a ferocious counterattack following Anibaba’s chance and the Dynamo were able to breathe a sigh of relief when Tesho Akindele fired his shot wide left.

After Alberth Elis forced Gonzalez into a diving save minutes before halftime, the match was completely flipped on its head. Akendele found himself in a pocket of space and gave Deric no chance when he rifled a shot from 25 yards into the top corner in the 45th minute. Going into halftime at 1-1 would have be disappointing enough for Wilmer Cabrera’s men, but Maynor Figueroa had other plans. He took advantage of the space left in front of the Dynamo’s back line and slammed home a left-footed shot from a tight angle to snatch a 2-1 lead with the last kick of the half.

Dallas were immediately on the front foot to begin the second period of play and their efforts were rewarded with a third goal in the 52nd minute. Urruti chested the ball down at the edge of the area before hitting a shot across his body past a sprawling Deric, who maybe should have done better.

Sánchez made way for Romell Quioto in the 55th minute for the Dynamo’s first substitution in the hopes of mounting a comeback. The subsequent quarter of an hour was largely uneventful and play became increasingly sloppy with both sides failing to really test the goalkeepers.

22-year-old Tomás Martínez then replaced Alex with twenty minutes to play. Seconds later his smart run helped open up space for Torres, who collected a perfectly-weighted ball from Quioto to pull one back for the Dynamo, leaving plenty to play for in the final stages at 3-2.

Attack after attack gave Dynamo supporters hope of salvaging a point, and 3-3 was made a reality in the wildest of fashions with four minutes left in regulation. Mauro Manotas’ effort deflected off a Dallas defender, over a scrambling González, and onto the crossbar. Torres found himself in the right place at the right time to slam home from close range, securing a valuable point on the road and, more importantly, escaping a loss to FC Frisco at the death. With the result El Capitán will remain with the men in orange, barring a Texas Derby in the playoffs.

The Dynamo return to action with a home match against Sporting KC on Saturday at 8:00 p.m.



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