The Houston Dynamo found home-state soil to the team's liking Wednesday. Playing for the first time since returning from Hawaii, the Dynamo exploded for four goals to beat Toronto FC 4-3 in a preseason match. The contest was the opening game of three Dynamo appearances in the inaugural Texas Pro Soccer Festival in Cibolo, Texas, north of San Antonio, at Steele High School.
The Dynamo struck quickly when a deflected header from Craig Waibel fell to Chris Wondolowski, and his header hit the left post before trickling past Toronto goalkeeper Greg Sutton.
Toronto evened the match in the 36th minute. A streaking Jim Brennan, to the left of the penalty area, crossed to Kiki Musampa, whose header beat Pat Onstad.
The Dynamo regained the lead in the 42nd minute when a leaping Brian Ching converted a corner kick from Brad Davis with a header to the left of a lunging Sutton.
Just two minutes later, Toronto had trouble clearing defensively, and an errant ball found Craig Waibel, who touched to Ching in the near corner of the box. Ching quickly unloaded a right-footed rocket that found the top left corner for a 3-1 lead.
The Dynamo made wholesale substitutions at halftime, inserting seven players into the lineup. Erik Ustruck made his presence felt quickly, collecting a Davis pass in the 47th minute and one-timing past Sutton from close range.
Toronto cut the deficit in half after a foul on Stephen Wondolowski led to a Martin Brittain penalty kick in the 71st minute. Brittain beat Onstad to the lower left corner to make the score 4-2. Tony Vairelles tallied in the 81st minute to get Toronto to within 4-3, but Houston held on for the win.
The Dynamo improved to 3-0-1 in exhibition play in 2008 and 4-1-1 overall.
Houston-C. Wondolowski 2'
Houston: Pat Onstad, Craig Waibel (James Georgeff 46), Bobby Boswell (Nick Hatzke 46), Eddie Robinson (John Michael Hayden 46), Wade Barrett (Stephen Wondolowski 46), Corey Ashe, Richard Mulrooney (Johnny Alcaraz 46), Ricardo Clark (Geoff Cameron 46), Brad Davis (Kieran Hall 66), Chris Wondolowski, Brian Ching (Erik Ustruck 46).
Toronto: Greg Sutton, Pat Phelan, Tyrone Marshall, Andrew Boyens, Jim Brennan, Collin Samuel, Kiki Musampa, Joey Melo, Martin Brittain, Jeff Cunningham, Danny Dichio (Tony Vairelles 57).
Referees: Jason Anno, Clark Haptonstall, Matt Mechler, Carlos Salas