The Houston Dynamo squared off against CF Pachuca of Mexico on last night, a game that had major significance for both teams. The home team fought bravely at Robertson Stadium but fell 1-0.
With the victory, Pachuca (4-1-0) moved to first place in Group A of the CONCACAF Champions League with 12 points. The Dynamo (2-2-1) remain in third with 7 points, three behind second-place Arabe Unido. The result now puts Dominic Kinnear's side on the outside looking in for a spot in the elimination round of the tournament.
"It puts us in a difficult position; we know what we have to do," Kinnear told Hair Balls. "Now, we have to go to El Salvador and win. Hopefully, Pachuca beats Arabe Unido, which we all think they will do that. But it makes our job more difficult."
The only goal in the match came in the 23rd minute, when Edgar Benitez of Pachuca connected on a cross from Juan Carlos Rojas. Benitez was able to receive the pass in between Brian Mullan and Geoff Cameron, a play that the Dynamo boss was not too happy about.
"I think it is a ball that we should have attacked better. I don't think the ball should be chest-strapped 12 yards out from your goal. It was a good goal for them, a soft goal for us to give up," he said.
After the goal, the Dynamo attacked with force, having Pachuca under siege for the rest of the first half. The Dynamo's lack of finishing was their Achilles heel on Wednesday night.
"I think that we were missing that last little quality in the final third," Kinnear said.
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The Dynamo played a 3-5-2 formation throughout the game. Kinnear's game plan was to flood the midfield and force the Mexican side to play balls in the air, which is not their forte. In the second half Pachuca adjusted by bringing in Dynamo killer Christian Gimenez and US International Jose Francisco Torres.
Torres is a native of Longview, TX. This game was a homecoming for him; he plays alongside Brian Ching, Ricardo Clark, and Stuart Holden on the US Men's National Team.
Kinnear is ready to move on to the next game, an MLS affair with the Kansas City Wizards. Overall, he was happy with his side's performance, even though the result was not favorable to the Orange.
"The only thing I can say is that I think we played well. If you watch the game tape again, I think you'll know that we didn't get beat by a better team, we got beat by a team that took advantage of their chances, and I think we played a pretty good match tonight," he said.