HOUSTON – He had to wait for it, but Mauro Manotas made the most of his first Houston Dynamo start.
The 19-year-old scored on a 43rd-minute header to help the Dynamo claim a 1-0 win Tuesday night over the Colorado Rapids in a round-of-16 match of the US Open Cup at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The win, after a two-hour, 48-minute weather delay that left the field virtually underwater at the scheduled kickoff time, puts the Dynamo in a quarterfinals matchup against the winner of Wednesday’s match between FC Dallas and Sporting Kansas City.
The deciding goal came when Manotas made a run across a crowded box to the near post to connect on a glancing header off a Nathan Sturgis curling ball into the box. It was a just reward for an active and effective night for the young Colombian, who tested Rapids goalkeeper Zac MacMath several times early. The goal was his first with the club, making him the youngest player to score for Houston in a competition.
Colorado had their fair share of open looks in a game that had 36 shots total but never capitalized. The visitors accrued 20 shots Wednesday night, six on goal.
And right before halftime they nearly equalized. Marlon Hairston beat AJ Cochran to set up a free look in the six-yard box, but the Houston outside back couldn’t get his feet under him and hit the post to keep it 1-0 at the half.
Marcelo Sarvas entered as a second-half sub for the Rapids and came close to equalizing in the 70th minute, teeing up a Dillon Powers lay-off that forced Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis to go low for a diving save to his left to keep the lead.
Houston returns to league action Friday night when they play host to the Chicago Fire, while Colorado are at home against the Vancouver Whitecaps on the Fourth of July.