HOUSTON – With Sporting Kansas City likely to put it all on the line to come back from their two-goal deficit, the Houston Dynamo can rest assured they have a steadying influence in the back.
On a team that has put in back-to-back complete performances, second-year starter Tally Hall has been an anchor with his play and command in goal in crucial situations. As Houston prepare for a KC squad sure to be desperate to go forward in their own house, having a surefooted ‘keeper can do wonders for a team’s confidence.
“We need Tally to be a big voice for us back there, especially against Kansas City,” said Brad Davis. “He’s been a big part of our success, and I think we need him to really keep that going and command his box, especially against a team like KC.”
At Livestrong Sporting Park on Wednesday (9 pm ET, watch LIVE online), the onus will be on Hall to control and command the box with SKC likely to apply pressure via set piece, long throw or buildup on the flanks.
That’s not likely to fluster Hall, though. The ‘keeper has shown a knack for being in the right place at the right time to make tough situations look easy. While the spectacular saves have been infrequent, Hall has shown that he doesn’t always need the highlight-reel stop to be effective.
“I think he’s solid and consistent,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “You need that from a goalkeeper, especially if you want to make a run in the playoffs. He made a couple of really good saves against Chicago and really commanded his box pretty well against Kansas City. That’s what you need from him and that’s what’s expected.”
And when Hall does get in trouble, his athleticism comes into play – as it did against Sporting Kansas City when a misread led to a C.J. Sapong shot that Hall parried wide.
With a defense that has been extremely strong and organized through two games, Hall is feeling right at home as the Dynamo netminder. After a strong 2011 playoffs, the 27-year-old is showing that he can be counted on when called on in big situations.
And there’s none bigger, so far at least, than Wednesday’s Eastern Conference Semifinal second leg.
“Honestly, there isn’t another [goalkeeper] I would take in this league,” Davis remarked. “I know how he prepares on a day-to-day basis. I know where his head’s at and the performances he’s put together speak for themselves.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.