HOUSTON – Coming into Tuesday’s CONCACAF Champions League affair, Cam Weaver was a marked man. That didn’t stop the big Houston Dynamo forward from inflicting damage and pushing his team to the top of Group 1 courtesy of a brace in a 2-1 win over Arabe Unido.
According DAU manager Jahir Palacios, the Panamanian club “studied” the way the Dynamo played and pointed out Weaver as a key to Houston’s success because of his ability to convert service into goals due to his strength and size.
That study didn’t help the visitors as Weaver scored twice to push Houston to a win and continue a strong run of form that includes four goals in the last month.
“Not surprised at all,” goalkeeper Tally Hall said about Weaver. “He’s been a big presence when he’s come on the field and has a long history of being difficult to play against. He’s a player I wouldn’t want to play against because he’s big and is always giving 100 percent effort. I’m very glad he’s on our team.”
Weaver’s exploits are the latest in a string of strong performances from the 6-foot-4 forward. After not scoring in over two years, he’s tallied twice for the Dynamo in the past eight MLS games, even claiming Goal of the Week honors for a rocket he hit against the Columbus Crew.
That goal should’ve shown Palacios that Weaver presents more than just physicality. If his shot against the Crew didn’t, his first strike on Tuesday, a well-timed volley off a Corey Ashe cross, certainly did.
“It was a great goal by Cam,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear. “He’s putting himself in good spots and making good runs. I think after that first goal, whenever the ball went wide he couldn’t move because guys were putting him in a straitjacket, almost. A guy like Cam, he does rely on service to score his goals and most of his goals are going to be one-touch…and that’s what happened tonight.”
The tall forward was a magnet for contact both on and off the ball and he battled the bumps and shots all night.
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“It’s tough, especially after I got the first goal they tried to do everything they could to stop me,” Weaver said, whose pair of goals tied him with Brian Ching for the franchise lead in CONCACAF scoring with five goals.
While his first was about finesse, his second goal let out a bit of that frustration, as he powered through the box – and over David Daniels – to head home the 77th-minute winner and made sure the Unido defender knew about it afterwards.
The performance is the latest from a forward whose form has finally caught up to his work rate. With his confidence buoyed by four goals in the last month, Weaver is in position to help the Dynamo down the stretch as the Orange chase playoff and CONCACAF success.
“I’m always confident in myself when I’m on the field. When I get my chance I’m going to step up and do what I can to help the team,” Weaver said. “We needed the win at home to move through in this competition…we’re happy we ended up getting it in the end.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.