For the second time in the last three matches, the Houston Dynamo finished with ten men thanks to a controversial red card. This time, however, the Dynamo were able to keep a tight enough back line for the remainder of the match to salvage a point with a 0-0 draw.
This was a tale of two halves. In the 1st half, the Dynamo midfield were given more time and space than has been the case in recent matches and took full advantage of it. The build up play was excellent, however the decision making in the final third left something to be desired.
All too often Dynamo players opted to take harmless shots when an opportunity for a killer pass was available. The end result was twelve shots total in the 1st half by the Dynamo but with only two on target.
With Philadelphia’s midfield on the back foot, however, the Union were unable to generate any opportunities and managed just one off-target shot in the half.
The best opportunity of the 1st half fell to Will Bruin in the 38th minute who put a shot off the right hand post in the aftermath of a corner. Shortly thereafter, David Horst had a header off of another corner kick that looked destined for the net only to have his shot blocked by teammate Ricardo Clark.
The 2nd half was a different story, however, as Philadelphia came out pressing high and allowing the Dynamo midfield very little time on the ball. As was the case a week ago against New England, the Dynamo began turning the ball over more frequently in the midfield and the defense was put on its back foot.
The warning shot came in the 52nd minute when Tony Cascio gave the ball away in the midfield. Andrew Wenger pushed forward and put a lovely pass in for Conor Casey who should have scored, however Jermaine Taylor managed to get his body in the way and blocked Casey’s shot.
Amobi Okugo nearly scored a minute later, beating Bruin on a corner and putting his bouncing header just over the bar.
Philadelphia brought on Leonardo Fernandes and Sebastien Le Toux to increase the pressure on the Dynamo. Horst was huge, however, winning every ball in the air and quite a few on the ground.
A moment of insanity by referee Armando Villarreal in the 82nd minute nearly cost the Dynamo the match, however. Despite no obvious time wasting up to that point by the Dynamo and no clear verbal warnings, Villarreal pulled a yellow card on Kofi Sarkodie for time wasting just as he was about to complete a throw in.
It was Sarkodie’s second yellow, resulting in a sending off. Based on his body language, it was clear that Villarreal forgot that Sarkodie was on a yellow. A red card for time wasting is rare. One for time wasting when the penalized team is continuing to try and get forward for a goal is unheard of. It was just the latest in questionable red cards this season by MLS refs and was followed up by two more in the Chicago vs. New England match.
Despite the red card, the Dynamo continued to find a way to block or clear every Union threat and finished the match holding Philadelphia to no shots on goal.
The Dynamo did have a scare when Clark left the match early, but it was confirmed afterwards that he only suffered from cramps. No word on Andrew Driver who also left the match early with a lower body injury.
This was a vital point for the Dynamo who had lost three matches in a row. They have a short week ahead of them with a Wednesday match at New York Red Bulls.
Tags: Houston Dynamo