The Houston Dynamo got a crucial road result for in CONCACAF Champions League Group 3 play on Thursday night, using a 57th-minute Adam Moffat goal and a strong defensive effort late to overcome a man disadvantage and hold on for a 1-1 draw with CD Olimpia in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
The draw puts both clubs on four points in the group and gives Houston a leg up in the competition with both of their remaining matches at home despite trailing Olimpia by one in goal differential.
Olimpia started the match with a lot of energy and, in the seventh minute, Douglas Caetano put the hosts up. The forward, who fired an early warning shot in the first minute, took advantage of Houston's failure to clear a corner and struck with a diving header that looped over Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
After struggling to muster clear looks at goal, Houston came close to equalizing in the 28th minute. A nifty chip service from Je-Vaughn Watson found Cam Weaver in the box and the forward held off his defenders only to fire his shot over the bar.
Deric, who was celebrating his 24th birthday on the night, came up big several times to keep Houston in the match, stoning Olimpia’s Washington Bruschi twice, once on a dangerous one-v-one chance, and stopping a Javier Portillo point-blank attempt in the 52nd minute with some help from Andre Hainault who cleared the rebound.
Houston were rewarded for holding strong in the 57th minute. After his initial short corner was snuffed, Nathan Sturgis hit a pinpoint cross to the near post where Moffat snapped a header that eventually gave the Dynamo a well-earned road point.
It was not smooth sailing from there, however, as the match turned again in the 61st minute when Sturgis was shown a straight red card by referee Marco Rodriquez for a late foot stomp. The decision prompted Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear to react by subbing in defender Bobby Boswell.
The move helped secure the draw as the Dynamo held Olimpia at bay for the remaining 29 minutes with Deric and the defense standing strong.
Olimpia came closest to clinching all three points in the first minute of stoppage time, but Jose Escalante’s half volley caromed off the post and was cleared by Boswell to secure the point for the MLS club.
Houston return to MLS play on Sunday when they travel to Chicago to face the Fire in a pivotal playoff battle in the East. The Dynamo return to CCL play on Sept. 20 when they host Salvadoran side FAS.