HOUSTON — The Houston Dynamo rode goals from Danny Cruz and Geoff Cameron to a 2-0 win over Toronto FC at Robertson Stadium on Saturday to give the team its first win since June 11.
Cruz’s goal broke the deadlock in the 50th minute with his first goal of the season after Houston captain Brian Ching sent him in alone on goal. Cameron then cemented the result in the 81st minute, crushing a loose ball past Toronto goalkeeper Stefan Frei after a corner kick.
The result extends a short Houston unbeaten streak to three games, but relegates Toronto to their fourth loss in five matches. The Reds remain winless on the road this season.
Houston started the match with their foot firmly on the gas, putting pressure on TFC’s back line and forcing some quality chances early that they failed to finish.
Brad Davis had the best opportunity in the 8th minute when a Will Bruin and Cruz combination found the left-footed midfielder at the right post. But the normally accurate Davis sailed his shot well over the crossbar. Other than that, though, neither team mustered much offense.
What the match lacked in attacking fireworks, there were some physical explosions. A battle between TFC’s Alan Gordon and Houston's Andre Hainault raged all evening. And in the 31st minute, Toronto’s Richard Eckersley’s was booked for fouling Cruz; Eckersley will miss Toronto’s next game due to yellow-card accumulation.
The game finally found some life with Cruz’s goal. The 21-year-old midfielder actually started the play, working the bookends of a give-and-go with Ching. The striker then played a through ball to the streaking Cruz, who rushed alone and beat Frei with a side-footed shot that the TFC keeper could only nick as it went by.
The match went through another lull until the 80th minute. Frei — who had faced just two shots on goal in the first 80 minutes — suddenly saw a flurry of activity. Rookie Bruin and second-half substitute Colin Clark challenged the ’keeper with successive shots, the second one going out for a corner kick.
On the resulting set piece, Cameron took his chance well and slammed home his third goal of the season to put the three points firmly in the Dynamo’s column.
The win improves Houston’s record to 5-6-8 on the season and their 23 points put them in fourth in the Eastern Conference. Toronto fall to 3-9-9, with 18 points.
Houston will host the fifth-place team in the East, Sporting Kansas City, on July 16 while Toronto will host FC Dallas on July 20.
HOU -- Danny Cruz 1 (Brian Ching 1) 50
HOU -- Geoff Cameron 3 (unassisted) 81
TOR -- Richard Eckersley (caution; Reckless Tackle) 32
TOR -- Alan Gordon (caution; Reckless Foul) 64
TOR -- Mikael Yourassowsky (caution; Reckless Tackle) 68
HOU -- Danny Cruz (caution; Reckless Tackle) 85
Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Dan Gargan, Richard Eckersley, Ty Harden, Danleigh Borman (Gianluca Zavarise 59), Javier Martina, Tony Tchani, Mikael Yourassowsky, Jacob Peterson (Nick Soolsma 69), Alan Gordon, Joao Plata.
Substitutes Not Used: Doneil Henry, Demitrius Omphroy, Matt Stinson, Nathan Sturgis, Milos Kocic.
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Kofi Sarkodie, Andre Hainault, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe, Danny Cruz, Je-Vaughn Watson (Lovel Palmer 83), Geoff Cameron, Brad Davis (Colin Clark 65), Will Bruin, Brian Ching.
Substitutes Not Used: Bobby Boswell, Hunter Freeman, Jason Garey, Cam Weaver, Tyler Deric.
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee's Assistants: Brian Poeschel; Steven Taylor
4th Official: Ismail Elfath
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Clear and 90 degrees