Dwayne De Rosario and Brian Ching scored their first goals of the season Saturday night, and the Houston Dynamo are finally in the win column after a 2-1 victory against the Colorado Rapids Saturday night at Robertson Stadium.
Ching gave Houston a 1-0 lead late in the first half, and after Omar Cummings pulled the Rapids level midway through the second, De Rosario converted from the penalty spot in the 87th minute, giving the defending champions their first victory in seven matches on the season.
De Rosario's decisive goal, the 45th of his career, came after referee Tim Weyland ruled Colorado defender Ugo Ihemelu played the ball with his arm in the penalty area. A throw-in came in from the left and bounced in the area, and Ihemelu raised his arm in an apparent attempt to chest the ball down.
After a brief pause, Weyland pointed the spot, also showing Ihemelu a yellow card for the intentional handball. With a longing crowd behind him, De Rosario buried the shot just inside the near post and delivered the victory for the Dynamo.
Pat Onstad made five saves in goal for the Dynamo, who nevertheless remained unbeaten at home and are now part of an amazing statistic that proved true once again Saturday night. MLS teams are now 34-0-7 when scoring the first goal of the game.
The Rapids have now lost three of four games overall after winning two of their first three matches to start the season.
The Dynamo had their share of good chances early on, but failed to test Rapids goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul. Ching had good opportunities in both the 18th and 27th minutes when he found some room, but both times his shots were too high.
On the latter chance, he was sent in alone on goal, but as Coundoul came flying out to close down the angle, Ching scuffed his chip shot just over the crossbar.
Colorado had a good look in the 28th minute when Cummings got through the Houston defense, but center back Bobby Boswell recovered nicely for the Dynamo and forced Cummings to the outside.
Six minutes later, Cummings had another good look from about 25 yards out, but his shot stayed low and Onstad dove to his left to make the easy save.
But the Dynamo got the break they were looking for in the 43rd minute when Stuart Holden again sent Ching in all alone behind the Colorado defense. This time Coundoul was first to reach the ball -- but it slipped past him as he tried to clear it away.
Ching raced past Coundoul and had only to roll the ball into the unguarded net for his first goal on the year, ending the team's scoreless streak at 234 minutes. Only Kansas City had a longer streak without scoring a goal this season when they went 255 scoreless minutes.
After the halftime break, Cummings had a great look in the 67th minute, but Boswell hustled and caught up with the Colorado striker just outside the goal area and forced a weak shot.
But the Rapids had their revenge a minute later when Cummings, who had chance after chance all night, finally got through the Houston defense and blistered a rolling shot into the far corner of the net for the tying goal.
Eddie Robinson, playing his first match after serving a three-game suspension, was the victim this time. He could not contain Cummings, who took a perfect pass from Christian Gomez outside his right foot and beat Onstad with a great shot for his second goal of the season.
After De Rosario gave the Dynamo the late lead, the Rapids nearly pulled out a miraculous tie. Colin Clark had the best chance to even the match in stoppage time when he fired a shot from just inside the box. But Onstad saw it all the way, making the save and preserving the win for the hosts.
Andrew J. Ferraro is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.