Two own goals. A saved penalty. A stoppage time winner from the left back. The magic of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The Houston Dynamo began their quest for a second Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Tuesday night at PNC Stadium against the Rio Grande Valley FC Toros. The teams traded jabs before Sam Junwua struck the decisive blow in second half stoppage time.
Midfielder Brooklyn Raines and winger Thiago got their first starts for the senior team after both starting for Houston Dynamo 2 on Saturday. Zeca and Thor Ulfarsson also got starts in a game where most starters were rested.
Houston got on the scoresheet first thanks to an unfortunate header from RGVFC. Thor Ulfarsson, making his first start for the Dynamo, sent in a cross from the left and Toros defender Frank Nodarse headed it directly into his own net in the 9th minute. The teams went back and forth for the remainder of the first half but Houston took their 1-0 lead into the break.
RGVFC came out firing in the second half and they were rewarded. After winning a corner kick inthe 48th minute, the ball was played in to the box and Teenage Hadebe deflected it into the Houston net to level the score. At 1-1 the Toros seemed to find life and in the 61st minute they won a penalty when Frank Lopez was brought down in the box by Brooklyn Raines. The Cuban took the penalty and smashed it to his right but Dynamo keeper Michael Nelson read it well and made a fantastic save to push the ball off the crossbar and away.
The Dynamo had chances of their own to take the lead in the second half as well. Corey Baird somehow fired over from 5 yards out, and was subbed out seconds later. WIth less than 10 minutes to play another golden chance went begging when Tyler Pasher’s shot was headed off the line by Toros defender Wahab Ackwei.
With the game destined for extra time it was Sam Junqua to the rescue in the 4th minute of 5 minutes of stoopeage time. The left back got forward in the attack as the Dynamo pressed for a winner. The ball came into the box from the left and Junqua rose with a leaping header that looped up and over Miller and into the net to give Houston the 2-1 win and a spot in the Round of 32.
The Round of 32 draw will take place on Friday. Stay tuned here at Dynamo Theory for coverage.