HOUSTON – An 84th-minute goal from left back Scott Palguta snapped the Colorado Rapids' four-game winless streak as the 2010 MLS Cup champs left Robertson Satdium with a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night.
It was the second home loss for the Dynamo on the season and the second road win of the season for Colorado.
After a choppy, largely uneventful first half, the game opened up in the second 45 with both teams pressuring and looking to go at goal.
Houston drew first blood through Colin Clark. The former Rapids midfielder opened the scoring in the 71st minute, tallying his first goal in Dynamo orange after a quick move to create space and a shot that caught Rapids ‘keeper Matt Pickens cheating off his near post. The left footed Clark cut in after a nice pass from Je-Vaughn Watson — who got his first Dynamo assist — and blasted the Dynamo to a 1-0 lead.
It was short-lived. Just three minutes later, Jaime Smith scored on a 40-yard free kick after Houston ‘keeper Tally Hall misjudged the flight of the ball. Hall came off his line and could only flap at Smith’s cross, which bounced once and rolled into the net.
That set up Palguta’s heroics.
After a Marvel Wynne throw-in, Houston struggled to clear the ball, which eventually rolled to Palguta at the top of the box. The veteran — making his first start of the year — made no mistake from 18 yards, placing a well-struck left-footed shot just inside Hall’s post and giving Colorado a lead they held to the final whistle.
The late winner stunned Dynamo in front of a midweek crowd in a match they had taken control after a tough first 45 minutes that saw more physical play than soccer. The only shot on goal in the first half — there were only three shots total — came in the 21st minute on a long-distance left-footed shot from central midfielder Lovel Palmer that was handled easily by Pickens.
Both teams paid for the early physical play with the Dynamo’s Cam Weaver earning a yellow card for an elbow to Drew Moor in the 34th minute. Brad Davis, who was quiet after a scintillating April, joined Weaver in referee Terry Vaughn’s book just six minutes later for a collision with Colorado’s Kosuke Kimura.
While Houston got the yellow cards, the physical play cost Colorado their most dangerous weapon just before the half. Omar Cummings left the game in the 45th minute after a heel clip from Palmer caused the Rapids forward to come up lame.
The away win puts Colorado at 13 points ahead of a Saturday game against New England. Houston had their six-game unbeaten streak snapped with the home loss, keeping the team on 12 points heading into an away game at Toronto this weekend.
HOU -- Colin Clark 1 (Je-Vaughn Watson 1) 71
COL -- Jamie Smith 3 (unassisted) 73
COL -- Scott Palguta 1 (Caleb Folan 1) 84
Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Kosuke Kimura, Tyrone Marshall, Drew Moor, Scott Palguta, Wells Thompson (Marvell Wynne 80), Jeff Larentowicz, Pablo Mastroeni, Jamie Smith, Andre Akpan (Quincy Amarikwa 68), Omar Cummings (Caleb Folan 45).
Substitutes Not Used: Joseph Nane, Ross LaBauex, Anthony Wallace, Steward Ceus.
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Hunter Freeman (Alex Dixon 85), Bobby Boswell, Andre Hainault, Corey Ashe, Colin Clark, Lovel Palmer, Je-Vaughn Watson, Brad Davis, Cam Weaver (Brian Ching 62), Will Bruin (Koke 77).
Substitutes Not Used: Mike Chabala, Eddie Robinson, Kofi Sarkodie, Tyler Deric.
HOU -- Cam Weaver (caution; Reckless Foul) 34
HOU -- Brad Davis (caution; Reckless Foul) 40
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: -Sean Hurd; Peter Balciunas
4th Official: Mark Declouet
Time of Game: 1:50
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 75 degrees