HOUSTON – The Colorado Rapids looked intent upon ending the Houston Dynamo’s record home unbeaten streak, but Giles Barnes came to the rescue to pull out a Sunday point with a 1-1 draw.
With his team down 1-0 thanks to a first half Drew Moor goal, Barnes, who was active all game, took a knock down off a Tally Hall goal kick and made something great out of nothing. He took two touches and hit a rocket of a shot on a thin angle, beating Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin and knotting the score in the 66th minute.
The draw extends Houston’s home unbeaten streak to 36 in all competitions, and also claims sole possession of the MLS regular season record for home unbeaten games at 30.
Moor put the Rapids up just before the half after 45 minutes of the visitors knocking on the door. He smartly lost Rico Clark on a corner kick and, free at the back post, headed home the Dillon Powers service to give the Rapids a well-deserved lead.
The visitors put Houston under pressure with their speed, and Danny Mwanga and Atiba Harris were in the middle of it. The pair had three clear chances at the end of the half, none better than Mwanga’s shot that forced an acrobatic headed clearance by a retreating Kofi Sarkodie in the 38th minute.
The closest the Dynamo came was in the 31st-minute when Brad Davis was set up by a hustling Will Bruin, but Davis’ right footed attempt was right at a well-positioned Irwin, who kept the score at 0-0.
Colorado nearly made it 2-0 early in the second half when Jamie Smith rang the post, but then injury struck once again. This time it was defensive midfielder Hendry Thomas, in the midst of a would-be man of the match performance, planting awkwardly at midfield before crumpling into a heap. Thomas was stretchered off, and there was no immediate word on the severity of his injury.
With Thomas off, Houston began to take more control of the midfield, and drew several stunning saves out of Irwin – none better than his 56th-minute tip of a Davis header.
In stoppage time, Bruin came inches from giving Houston the win, but his diving header crashed off the crossbar to keep the draw.
Moments later, Davis was shown a straight red card for a tackle on Nathan Sturgis. That will rule the Dynamo playmaker out of next Sunday’s MLS Cup rematch at the LA Galaxy. Colorado will return home to host Toronto FC the day before.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Clint Irwin||If he did nothing else, that 56th-minute save on Davis would have been enough. But as always, he did so, so much more. One of the stories of the season.|
|2||Hendry Thomas||Was clearly the best player on the field before his injury. Won everything in the middle and set the tone physically from the start. Fingers crossed the injury is minor.|
|3||Giles Barnes||The Dynamo didn't have it on Sunday, and they needed - badly - someone to step up and create that one special moment. Credit to Barnes for seizing the chance.|