Positive things happen when you score two goals and keep your opponent from putting one in. For the Houston Dynamo, that meant earning their fifth win of the season, 2-0 over visiting Toronto FC Saturday night at Robertson Stadium.
The shutout is the second in a row for the Dynamo, who have collected five out of a possible nine points in their last three matches. That's pretty snazzy for the ninth-best team in the league -- which is good enough to be in playoff contention.
Danny Cruz got the scoring barrage started for the Dynamo. In the 50th minute, Brian Ching played the ball into wide-open space, where Cruz took it the distance and finished with his first goal of the season. Head coach Dominic Kinnear knew that scoring first was the key to getting the win.
"I just felt that if we did score the first goal that we'd win, because they really weren't pushing too much forward," Kinnear said. "Defensively I thought we were pretty solid tonight, so we were going to be better on the ball and get a goal, then I thought it was going to be enough. Thankfully it was."
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The Dynamo have shown an improved defense the past couple of weeks, culminating with two straight shutout victories. It all started with their road game three weeks ago at DC United, where Kinnear switched to a backline of Kofi Sarkodie, Andre Hainault, Jermaine Taylor and Corey Ashe. Along with goalkeeper Tally Hall, this unit hasn't allowed a goal in the last 197 minutes of play.
"I think that we've shown these last couple of games that our defense has done really well; that's two shutouts in a row," said Cruz, who scored the game-winning goal. "I think if we just continue to defend the way we know how that we'll be okay. Tonight is a big step forward."
They were able to ice the game off of a Brad Davis corner kick in the 81st minute. After a series of loose balls following the corner, Geoff Cameron knocked in his third goal of the season.
The Dynamo's next game is a crucial Eastern Conference showdown against Sporting Kansas City, who sit behind the Orange in the standings. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on July 16 at Robertson Stadium.