HOUSTON – Last week, the Houston Dynamo talked about putting together a complete performance. It is safe to say they did exactly that Sunday night.
Houston turned a man advantage – created by a 17th-minute red card to D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid – into a dominating performance by pushing the gas pedal and putting up four goals while keeping D.C. from garnering many chances. But it was the defense in the new 4-3-3 formation that impressed most, as the Dynamo posted their third straight shutout.
“Our defense has been incredible in this formation,” said Will Bruin, who notched his 10th goal of the season. “They’re not giving a sniff at goal and it felt nice to reward them and put four goals on the board and still keep a shutout.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Houston 4, D.C. United 0
While pundits can point to the fact that the Dynamo had a man advantage, the attitude and drive for the club to keep driving – evidenced by their two goals after the 60th minute – is a positive sign for a club on the heels of back-to-back shutouts.
“I think sometimes when you’re a man up for a long time it’s easy to take it easy, especially when it’s a little humid out, and to be lackadaisical,” said goalkeeper Tally Hall. “I think the team did a great job of never letting off the pedal. We were on them the whole time and going forward. The team came out and went at them the whole game and you have to like the killer instinct.”
Cameron keeping cool
As if playing his first game in two weeks wasn’t tough enough, Geoff Cameron returned to the Dynamo starting XI with a lot on his mind. With transfer rumors swirling and the public nature of the negotiations between MLS and Stoke City, his head was swimming.
But the US international returned to central midfield – a possible landing spot at Stoke – to very high marks. Not just for his on field play, which was top-shelf, but for his ability to focus.
“He was good tonight and I think it’s been tough,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear of Cameron’s play and situation. “You do feel sorry for him with what’s going on. I thought he had a good game and, considering what’s happening to him, I thought his mental toughness was good tonight.”
DP opens account in unfamiliar fashion
Coming to the Dynamo, Designated Player Boniek García was expected to add a lot to Houston’s attack. Heading home crosses, was not likely high on the list. The DP, who is proving to be an out-and-out menace with the ball at his feet, opened his MLS account in unfamiliar fashion on Sunday, heading a 62nd-minute Andre Hainault cross past Joe Willis for his first MLS goal.
“In my whole soccer career, I’ve never had an opportunity to score with a header,” García told reporters after the match. “Today the opportunity presented itself, and I’m truly very happy.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.