Every team has that one opponent that always gives them hell, no matter what the circumstances are. The Houston Dynamo always seem to be involved in strange games with Real Salt Lake.
Earlier this season, the Orange tied a game with RSL that featured a "water break." That's right, the ref actually stopped the game so the teams could get a drink, and a break from the heat. I haven't seen that since I played as a kid, where we would also get orange slices and a Capri Sun after the game. (Memories.)
Last year, the Dynamo took a commanding 3-0 lead, but finished the game 4-3. So when the Dynamo came out blazing on Saturday night, scoring two goals in the five minutes, everyone had a sense that this game was far from over.
The Dynamo took a 1-0 lead a little over the first-minute mark, when a free kick by Brad Davis found Brian Ching inside the box. Ching, who was behind a RSL defender, reached his foot around the guy and kicked the ball in the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Luis Angel Landin took a shot that was saved by the goalkeeper. On the ensuing corner kick, Davis crossed a ball that found a couple of things, mainly Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron's foot and the back of RSL's goal.
For Davis, the two assists on the goals were another day at the office. "My job is to just put the ball in there and give them a chance," he told Hair Balls after the match.
RSL, however, just wouldn't go away. Goals by RSL's Kyle Beckerman and Yuri Movsisyan tied the game at 2. Once again the Dynamo squandered an early lead.
"Oh shit!" Davis said he thought to himself as the game got leveled at 2. "To be honest, it felt like we let the game slip away there for a minute. Credit to our guys, because we didn't stop."
And they didn't. The Dynamo seemed to wake up and poured everything forward. They had the visitors on the ropes, getting in spaces inside RSL's penalty box only to be denied by goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
In the 77th minute, Davis was tackled from behind inside the area. The referee, instead of calling a penalty kick in favor of the Dynamo, decided to play the advantage. "It hurt," Davis told Hair Balls.
All was fair at the end, however, as Davis got the game-winning goal four minutes later: "[The ref] didn't call [the foul], we kept going, we got the goal, we win, and now we get to celebrate; it's a major relief."
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The game also featured three ejections. RSL defender Jamison Olave was shown a straight red in the 32nd minute for a studs-up tackle on Landin. Dynamo assistant coach John Spencer was ejected from the sidelines, after he was infuriated by the missed penalty call perpetrated on Davis and gave the officials a tongue-lashing. After the go-ahead goal, Ching (who was also the victim of no-call inside the penalty area) took out his frustrations and flipped RSL forward Javier Morales on his back.
Tempers flared a couple of times during the match as well, after unnecessary tackles from both teams. I guess there most have been something in the Houston water earlier this week, because the Texans were also looking to fight in their win over the Titans. Hell, I wanted to fight after watching Floyd Mayweather, Jr. dismantle Juan Manuel Marquez.
The result for the Dynamo was a much-needed win. It puts the Dynamo back in a tie with the Columbus Crew for the Supports' Shield. Also, it put the Dynamo one step closer to clinching a playoff berth in the Western Conference.
They Dynamo are back in action Tuesday night at Robertson Stadium, when they take on Arabe Unido in a CONCACAF Champions League match.