The Houston Dynamo came out victorious Thursday night in another weird game against Real Salt Lake. Brad Davis knocked down two penalty kicks just three minutes apart to give the Orange a 2-1 win against the defending MLS Cup champions.
In the 52nd minute, RSL defender Jamison Olave took down a streaking Geoff Cameron in the penalty box to award the Dynamo the first penalty. In the 55th minute, Dominic Oduro sent a cross into the box for Luis Angel Landin, who was then tripped up by Olave again for the second PK. Davis took both penalties with a pair of powerful blasts to beat RSL keeper Nick Rimando.
"Coming out of the locker room [at halftime], we needed some determination and [the forwards] did well to get into the box and create a couple of plays," Davis said. "Credit to the guys, we came out of the locker room with the right mentality."
RSL opened up the scoring in the 18th minute when US international Kyle Beckerman made a gorgeous pass to Javier Morales who tallied for the third time in two games. Things quickly got worse for the Dynamo ten minutes later when Brian Ching injured himself chasing a loose ball.
The early diagnosis was that it was a strained left hamstring, but the severity of the injury was not yet known.
RSL, who were winners in their 3-0 rout of San Jose Earthquakes last weekend, were bothered by the Dynamo's pressuring defense. The Orange kept constant pressure on their midfielders, and frustrated the forwards all night.
In second-half stoppage time, RSL striker Fabian Espindola did his best Rodeo Houston impression and took down Bobby Boswell like a young calf. Pretty good technique too, Espindola wrapped his hands around Boswell's neck and lunged forward. A confrontation between both clubs ensued, which caused the ref to give both players yellow cards.
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"I asked [the ref] why I got a yellow card and he said I had an aggressive fall," Boswell told Hair Balls. "I don't know how I'm supposed to fall. I don't know how I'm supposed to fall un-aggressively."
The two penalties in quick succession are a rarity in professional soccer; most refs are hesitant to call those. This only adds to the string of weird games between the two clubs at Robertson Stadium. Last year, the ref temporarily stopped the match to give a water break, but he stopped short of handing out orange slices and Capri Suns. Also, goals in this series have never been at a premium.
The Dynamo get 10 days off before their next game, when they get an opportunity for revenge against a Los Angeles Galaxy team that eliminated them from the playoffs last year.
In last year's Western Conference Finals, the lights at the Home Depot Center in LA went out twice, coincidentally when the Dynamo were making runs. To ensure blackouts won't affect the game at Robertson Stadium, Amigo Energy is handing out mini-flashlights to a limited number of fans.