HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo registered their fifth straight win and leapfrogged the New York Red Bulls into first place in the Eastern Conference after handily defeating them 2-0 on Friday night at BBVA Compass Stadium in the debut of new Red Bulls designated player Tim Cahill.
Houston controlled the match from start to finish and capitalized on first-half goals from Jermaine Taylor – the Jamaican scored after just 72 seconds – and the red-hot Calen Carr to move two points clear of the Red Bulls ahead of a second consecutive head-to-head matchup next week in New York, where NYRB are undefeated this season.
Taylor got Houston’s big night going in quick fashion, scoring the second fastest goal from the start of a match in Dynamo history. On the first trip down the field, Houston earned a set piece and marksman Brad Davis delivered a ball to the back post. After some pinging around the box, Andre Hainault fired a shot across the front of the goal and Taylor met the ball with his knee at the right post, knocking it across the goal line.
Highlights: HOU 2, NY 0
With the visiting Red Bulls reeling, Houston increased the pressure. Davis took his chance in the 10th minute, lacing a left-footed blast to force a parry from goalkeeper Bill Gaudette. On the ensuing corner Taylor nearly made it a brace, directing his flick into the side netting.
After forward Will Bruin tried his luck with a scorcher from just outside the box, Houston’s wingers struck again. The red-hot pair of Carr and Macoumba Kandji, who have thrived in Houston’s 4-3-3 system, linked up in the 28th minute.
Kandji hit a beautiful swerving ball to the back post, where Carr skied over an unknowing Roy Miller to park a header just inside the far post and give the Dynamo a 2-0 lead. It was Carr’s fourth goal in four matches.
The hot conditions, which hovered around 97 degrees at the start of the match, looked to get to the Red Bulls, who traveled to Texas after a friendly last Tuesday against Tottenham Hotspur. They limped into the half with just two shots and only one on goal.
Cahill, who made his first appearance for NYRB against Tottenham, started the match and went a full 90 minutes, but the Australian struggled along with the rest of his teammates on a night when there was precious little chemistry, energy or effective attacking sequences on display from the visitors.
In the second half, New York came out with an improved vigor; holding the ball and putting the Dynamo under pressure in the first 10 minutes. But after the initial burst, the Dynamo settled in and Houston responded by pushing numbers forward and exploiting their speed advantage on the flanks to put Gaudette under constant pressure and see out the win.
For New York, second half sub Kenny Cooper, Sébastien Le Toux and Thierry Henry all had chances to pull one back after the break, but none of their efforts troubled Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, who needed to make just two saves on the night. He now has 10 shutouts on the season, just one shy of the club record.
Houston’s victory pushes them to a 11-5-7 (40 points) and allowed them to extend their current unbeaten streak to eight matches. New York stay on 38 points and have now lost two in a row.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Mac Kandji||At the center of the Dynamo's most dangerous attacks, but finishing and touch failed him on a few occasions. Owned NYRB right back Heath Pearce in dominant 1st half against his former club.|
|2||Brad Davis||All over the field for Houston, connecting passes and filling gaps as needed. Unquestioned leader of the 1st-place Dynamo.|
|3||Corey Ashe||Another generous performance from his left back position. Red Bulls don't even bother attacking down his flank and he even got off his fair share of crosses when he joined the attack.|