HOUSTON — You cannot script it any better than Alex Dixon’s first career goal.
With his team grasping for a winner in the dying minutes, the Dynamo Academy product from Humble, Texas — a suburb of north of Houston — found an improbable winner on the game’s last touch to give his team a 3-2 home victory over Real Salt Lake in front of family and friends while propelling his team to second place in the Eastern Conference.
“It was great to get the game-winner on my first goal,” Dixon said after the game. “It means a lot scoring at home. I would have taken it any way, but it definitely means a lot to score at home.”
Dixon has seen his playing time increase over the past week as head coach Dominic Kinnear’s confidence continues to grow in the rookie. Kinnear inserted the speedy Dixon in the 80th minute for Colin Clark to provide a spark as the Dynamo pushed for a late winner with the game tied at 2-2.
The rookie did not disappoint, showing excellent footwork to dribble through three defenders and tee up a purposeful left-footed strike from just outside the box. Before the ball hit the back of the net the rookie was on his way to celebrate with his teammates.
“I was happy to see him celebrate with everyone,” Kinnear said. “He’s played important minutes … and we have a lot of confidence in him. He plays well in practice and has the athletic ability to play well and handle [the pressure].”
The Dynamo signed the 21-year-old as a junior out of the University of North Carolina during preseason. Kinnear saw his ability early and pushed the youngster to harness his talent, and in his seventh appearance of the season, Dixon rewarded the coach’s confidence in front of his hometown crowd with a clutch goal that could pay dividends in the standings as the team pushed their unbeaten streak to five.
“I think he’s learning how to become a professional,” Kinnear said. “It is only one goal, so we have to take it easy, but it did come at the right time and I’m really happy for him.”
It may only be "one goal," but the circumstances surrounding the goal make it a memorable one for Dixon, who is already looking to build on the memorable moment.
“It’s definitely a confidence-booster,” Dixon said. “I just have to keep my head down and keep working hard and do what I can to help the team when I get the chance.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.