If there's one thing the Houston Dynamo don't do, it's lose a match at BBVA Compass Stadium. And after last night's CONCACAF Champions League victory over Santos Laguna, they showed they'll do the same thing to Mexican opponents as they do to MLS clubs...
Force them to listen to DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win."
Tuesday's CCL affair ended with late-game heroics similar to Saturday night's season-opening win over DC United. And just as in the DC game, it was the second-half subs that made the difference for the Orange.
Brad Davis, who came in at the start of the second half, was the hero against Santos. In the 89th minute, Davis sprung Corey Ashe free down the left side. Ashe dribbled to the edge of the penalty box, where he laid a soft pass back to Davis. Davis ripped a low shot into the far netting, giving the Dynamo the 1-0 lead.
A minute later, Andrew Driver nearly doubled the lead for the Dynamo. He couldn't control the pass that Will Bruin played for him inside the 18, and ended up stumbling onto the pitch.
"I don't think he's used to playing on such good fields," Dynamo goalkeepers coach Tim Hanley told Hair Balls. "And the balls that we use here are bigger, and he got fouled by the ball."
Those were jokes, by the way, from a very animated interim head coach. Normal head coach Dominic Kinnear was suspended for Tuesday's match for being sent off in their last group-stage match with Olimpia of Honduras. Coaching with the interim tag during CCL has become an all-too familiar affair for Hanley.
"I seem to always get more involved in CONCACAF," Hanley said. Fresh with the quick one-liners, Hanley praised his defense the most for the shutout they pitched against Santos. Away goals are the first tie-breakers in this edition of tourney. Should the Dynamo be able to score a goal on Wednesday's return leg, they'll be in great shape to advance to the semifinal round.
One player who wasn't amused at the end of the match was Santos striker Hercules Gomez. Gomez, who's a regular fixture on Jürgen Klinsmann's U.S. squad, is the star attraction for Santos.
Gomez viewed the game as an evenly matched affair, and thought a scoreless tie would have been just. However, he and his teammates aren't worried about being down a goal after the first leg.
"My hat's off to the Houston Dynamo for getting that goal, but for us it's business as usual," Gomez said. "We're not in panic mode; we're pretty calm about this. In the locker room, I didn't see guys freaking out thinking that this still wasn't in our control.
"It's not the desired result, but we're very calm and very aware that there's still 90 minutes to play -- and it happens to be in our backyard."
The team that comes out on top after next Wednesday's return leg at Estadio Corona will advance to the semifinal round of the CCL. They'll face the winner of the Seattle Sounders-Tigres UNAL series.
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