HOUSTON – When you’re pushing for a goal, there are few luxuries better in MLS than having Brad Davis come off the bench.
The Houston Dynamo's all-time assist leader entered Wednesday's CONCACAF Champions League game at the half for Warren Creavalle and after taking some time to get going, found his footing. With his 89th-minute goal, the left-footer turned out to be the difference the Dynamo were looking for to gain a foothold in their quarterfinal series with Santos Laguna.
“Brad’s a great player and everyone knows what his left foot’s capable of,” said Giles Barnes. “When he comes on the pitch, he gave us a big lift. He’s our leader in a sense, he’s our captain. It gives everyone and the crowd a lift. You give all the young lads a boost out there.”
When asked about it after the match, goalkeeper coach Tim Hanley – who manned the bench for the suspended Dominic Kinnear – said it was a technical decision on the part of the Dynamo boss. And it turned out Davis did not need the full 90 minutes to make his impact as he provided the lift the club needed.
“It’s my job,” Davis told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “I’m not on the starting sheet, so when you get the opportunity to come in, you’ve got to try and bring a spark to your team and make a difference and that’s what I tried to do.
“Tonight, I thought in the first half, we created some really good opportunities to score, and in the second half, we got chances to score some goals and luckily I was able to finish one.”
Davis’ late-game heroics came just in the nick of time. With the Dynamo having knocked on the door several times with nothing to show for it, the anxiety of needing a lead started to set in. Davis delivered, playing both facilitator and finisher in a combination with Corey Ashe to seal a much-needed one-goal lead heading into what will be a difficult second leg in Mexico.
“Obviously, everyone knows what Brad does for our team and it’s an improvement,” goalkeeper Tally Hall said. “It’s great to have the depth we do have and obviously Warren did great starting. Then Brad comes on and does what he does and lifts the team to a win.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.