Everything was aligned perfectly for the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night. Before their final CONCACAF Champions League match, Pachuca defeated Arabe Unido, meaning all the Dynamo had to do was win against the previously winless Isidro Metapan to advance to the quarterfinals.
Unfortunately, that task proved too difficult for the Orange as they fell 3-2 to the side from El Salvador. Apparently, the Dynamo never even got off the plane. In the first ten minutes of the match, Metapan took a quick 2-0 lead.
The pair of goals did seem to wake up the Dynamo. In the 29th minute, Geoff Cameron cut the lead in half when Brian Ching snuck him a pass inside the penalty area. The goal swung the momentum to the Orange. In the 42nd minute, Ching sent another through ball inside the penalty box; this time to Dominic Oduro. With an open net in front of him, it was easier for Oduro to make it than miss it. Well, Oduro prefers making life difficult, because that was a fugly miss.
Oduro was bailed out a couple of minutes later. In a strange turn of events before the half, the Dynamo were able to tie the game. Goalkeeper Tally Hall served a free kick into the Metapan's box. Ching collided with Metapan's goalkeeper, and the ball just sort of bounced in. It was Hall's first goal in Champions League play.
The Dynamo came out after halftime with a sense of urgency. Second-half substitute Stuart Holden helped control the play in the midfield, and created plenty of chances. However in the 57th minute, Metapan scored the go-ahead goal.
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The Dynamo would push the Salvadorians to their limits, but never found the equalizer.
The Dynamo's failure to get three points in El Salvador means the Dynamo won't advance out of the group stage of the Champions League for the first time in the club's history. The loss also comes at a bad time, as the Dynamo are starting to show a run of poor form heading into the MLS Cup Playoffs.
The Dynamo are winless in all competitions since a 5-1 rout of Arabe Unido in late September (not including their friendly victory against Monterrey). Heading into the final game of the season this Sunday at Chivas USA, the Dynamo need a win to secure home-field advantage in the first round. Depending on other results, a loss or a tie move the Dynamo third or fourth in the West, meaning they would have to go on the road for the second leg in the first round.
The Dynamo sure picked a bad time to go on a slump.