Just when it appeared the Houston Dynamo were going to suffer another late defeat, Ronaldo came to the rescue. Ronaldo Pena that is. The 21 year old’s goal in the 88th minute powered the Houston Dynamo to a 1-1 draw with Western Conference leading FC Dallas. The draw salvaged a point for Houston in a must win situation.
“It means a lot, but at the same time it’s not enough,” said Dynamo defender DaMarcus Beasley after the match. “I’m not going to sugar coat anything and say we’re happy, because we’re not, I’m not. Like I said, mixed feelings but it’s okay to get a point but it’s still not good enough.”
Michael Barrios had placed Dallas ahead beating Dynamo defender Andrew Wenger and keeper Joe Willis in the 83rd minute. It was the 13th time an opposition goal had been surrendered after the 76th minute by Houston this season.
Nineteen of the 37 goals allowed by the Dynamo in 2018 have come either in the first 15 minutes or last 15 minutes of play. Eight times those late game goals have turned games in which the Dynamo were tied or leading into losses. An aggregate total of 15 lost points in the standings.
Willis kept the Dynamo in the match with big saves in both the 68th, 71st and 80th minutes of play. FCD forward Maxilmiliano Urruti pushed a shot towards the far post that Willis was able to parry away at the last second in the 68th minute. Three minutes later, Urruti delivered a perfect ball to Ryan Hollingshead at the top of the box. Once again Willis was the Dynamo savior. In the 80th minute, defender Maynor Figueroa’s curling free kick was stopped by Willis keeping the game even.
Houston despite not having a shot for nearly 25 minutes in the second half had some of the better opportunities of the match. In the first minute of first half stoppage time, midfielder Tomas Martinez missed a point blank attempt with no one between him and the keeper. Houston’s finishing woes continued as just one of their 13 shots outside of Pena’s goal were considered on target. Early in the second half Romell Quioto, still in a scoring slump, hit the side netting from a difficult angle. The dynamic forward/midfielder has scored once in the team’s last 15 games.
Pena subbed on for in the 83rd and five minutes later he pulled Houston even. Martinez found the young Venezuelan near the edge of the box and he did the rest leveling the game with his first MLS goal.
“I dedicated this goal to my mother who just came out of a surgery,” said Pena about the tally. “This goal was for her because she has always been my strengthen and has pushed me to be where I am today.”
After ending a five game losing streak with the draw, Houston (7-11-7, 28 points) looks to build on the momentum as they travel to New York to meet the Red Bulls (15-6-3, 48 points) in a short turnaround.