HOUSTON – A late Hunter Freeman goal gave the Houston Dynamo a 1-0 win over the New England Revolution on Sunday night, ending the Revs' unbeaten run at Robertson Stadium.
On a night when it looked like a strong performance from the New England defense and goalkeeper Matt Reis would earn the visitors a point on the road, Freeman flipped the script in the 86th minute.
In Houston's last of 11 corner kicks of the match, Cam Weaver sent a screeching header that ricocheted straight up off the crossbar. Freeman muscled his way in between Reis and defender Kenny Mansally at the goal line and tapped the ball in to send the Houston faithful home happy.
Until Freeman's winner, the story of the game was going to be a controversial call on a Dynamo shot that looked to roll over the New England goal line in the 57th minute.
A scrum ensued in front of the Revs' goal off a Brad Davis corner kick that caused Reis to come off his line. With the net open, Houston defender Bobby Boswell tapped the ball that appeared to go in only to be cleared by Zack Schilawski and ruled a no-goal by referee Alex Prus.
The Dynamo had a tough time beating Reis -- who had six saves on the night and played a big role in keeping New England in the match -- despite generating 26 shots to New England’s nine. Missing central midfielders Shalrie Joseph and Pat Phelan, New England packed the middle of the field and looked to be on their way to securing a road point by making it tough for the Dynamo to get clear shots on target.
Rookie Will Bruin was dangerous early, testing Reis a total of three times but failing to beat the veteran 'keeper. Bruin's best chance came in the 17th minute, when the rookie found himself on the end of a great cross from forward partner Weaver but headed the ball just wide of the upright.
Just after his earlier chance to score, Boswell again threatened the Revs' goal, latching onto a deflected throw-in with his right foot that crashed onto the post and flew straight out.
Later on, in the 73rd minute, Bruin had another chance to score when Danny Cruz sent him on towards goal. Bruin muscled off two defenders and let loose a shot, but Reis again denied the rookie.
With the win, the Dynamo improved to 2-1-2 and will play at the Chicago Fire on Saturday, April 23. New England, meanwhile, are now 1-2-3 and will face Sporting KC also on April 23.
HOU -- Hunter Freeman 1 (unassisted) 86
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Kevin Alston, Franco Coria (Ryan Cochrane 79), A.J. Soares, Darrius Barnes, Zak Boggs, Stephen McCarthy, Chris Tierney, Zack Schilawski (Kenny Mansally 79), Rajko Lekic, Marko Perovic.
Substitutes Not Used: Kheli Dube, Otto Loewy, Sainey Nyassi, Ilija Stolica, Bobby Shuttleworth.
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Hunter Freeman, Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe, Danny Cruz (Colin Clark 75), Geoff Cameron, Lovel Palmer, Brad Davis, Cam Weaver, Will Bruin (Jason Garey 88).
Substitutes Not Used: Mike Chabala, Alex Dixon, Eddie Robinson, Kofi Sarkodie, Tyler Deric.
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; Corey Parker
4th Official: Sorin Stoica
Weather: Clear and 78 degrees