After lightning surrounded downtown Houston on Saturday night, Houston and Toronto were forced to wait for their match. On Sunday Houston Dynamo and Toronto FC played out to a 1-1 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The draw does little to change Houston’s terrible season record, but it was an impressive result for Dynamo. Dynamo defender Abdoulie Mansally was sent off in the first-half, making life harder for Houston, but given head coach Wade Barrett’s penchant for defensive soccer, Dynamo held on for a point.
Houston Dynamo started the match brightly as they opened the scoring after just eight minutes. Dynamo forward Mauro Manotas made the most of his first ever start as he chipped a ball over the Toronto defense for his midfielder Cristian Maidana who volleyed it past the goalkeeper.
But Toronto FC quickly fought back and it was two of their stars who combined to get the equalizer. Toronto forward Sebastian Giovinco found his strike partner Jozy Altidore off a low corner, allowing Altidore to hit a powerful shot past the keeper.
In the 33rd minute Houston could well have got back in front when defender Agus Garcia got the ball off a rebound. Agus shot, but his effort was denied when Altidore cleared the ball off the line.
The red card came in stoppage time after Mansally and Giovinco got in to a tangle running down the wing. With Mansally as the last defender, the referee adjudged the challenge to be deliberately obstructing a goal scoring opportunity and led to the red card.
With a man down, Houston was forced to make changes, with defender Raul Rodriguez and midfielder Andrew Wenger brought on. Those changes were intended to shut up shop and play even more defensively to hold on for the point.
Despite the defensive changes it was Houston who had two chances in the tenth minute of the half. The first fell to Maidana who was played in by Manotas whose shot was saved before Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia crossed from the right for Manotas whose volley bounced off the pitch and over the bar.
While a man down, Dynamo attacked and on the hour mark Manotas was at it again as he was set up by Agus. After receiving the ball from a nice one-two on the edge of the box Manotas shot but his effort was well saved by Toronto FC keeper Alex Bono.
Toronto FC could well have grabbed the three points in the 64th minute when their midfielder Jay Chapman played the ball behind the Houston defense. That allowed Altidore to hit a volley which beat the keeper but came off the post, allowing Houston to clear the ball to safety and salvage the draw.