Check out our slideshow of the Dynamo vs Red Bulls.
The Houston Dynamo are a lot of things these days. They're winners of their last five league matches. They are unbeaten in their last 18 home games, dating back to last season.
And thanks to their 2-0 beating of the New York Red Bulls on Friday night in front of a sold-out crowd at BBVA Compass Stadium, they are in first place in the Eastern Conference.
The fireworks started early, too, as the Dynamo got on the board just 72 seconds into the match thanks to a set piece. On a free kick, Brad Davis whipped in a cross to the far post. As New York failed to clear the ball from danger, Andre Hainault was able to loft a cross to the opposite post, where an unmarked Jermaine Taylor pushed the ball in with his knee.
"It gave the guys a lot of confidence emotionally and a lift of energy physically," Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said after the match.
In the 28th minute, Calen Carr headed in a cross from Mac Kandji, giving the Orange a 2-0 lead. The Dynamo never looked back from that moment, as they proceeded to dominate the Red Bulls in every way imaginable.
Home-field advantage Texas A&M claim their fans are their "12th man." For the Dynamo, the Texas heat is their "13th man." The heat and humidity in the Bayou City beats down on opposing teams, making it difficult to play fast, pressing soccer for 90 minutes.
The Red Bulls signed Australian international Tim Cahill from EPL club Everton last week. When he hooked up with new teammate Thierry Henry, the Frenchman gave his Aussie mate a warning: "wait till you get to Houston."
Because the Red Bulls had to burn their three substitutes, Cahill -- who was still in preseason form -- was forced to go the full 90 minutes. After the match, a beaten-down Cahill described Houston's infamous humidity as "a different sort of heat."
"I've played throughout the season in Qatar and places like Australia. I think that this was still quite a good tempo, especially in this heat. It's different."
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The Red Bulls had planned to sub out Cahill early, but had to change plans when defender Wilman Conde asked to be subbed out in the 70th minute, forcing New York to use their third and final sub. Red Bulls head coach said after the match, "I don't think he got injured but he wanted to go out then."
After the sub was made, Conde was deemed fit to play by the team's medical staff. It's not clear if the Texas heat or the heat brought on by the Dynamo offense is what caused Conde to burn out. At the end of the day, Conde punked out.
The Dynamo remain one of two teams in MLS to be undefeated at home. The other team is the New York Red Bulls, which is where the Dynamo will play this Friday night. First place will be on the line again, but this time it will be the Dynamo who are the hunted.