A hard fought and entertaining Texas derby was played out on Houston with the series still looking for its first winner of 2017 as FC Dallas came back from a half-time deficit to force a scoreless draw at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night.
“I think it was a very good game,” said Houston Dynamo head coach Wilmer Cabrera, “it was hot and humid for everyone. Two good teams on the field, we went for the three points but they are a good team… As long as we don’t lose and we continue looking forward and looking to attack we have to be happy.”
Erick Torres opened the scoring for Houston in the 19th minute after a long ball played from within Dynamo’s own half was allowed to bounce by the FC Dallas defense. That allowed Torres to control it, turn his defender, and shoot across the face in to the bottom right hand corner of the net.
FC Dallas got their equalizer in the 59th minute as Max Urruti was given too much space in the box. That allowed him to turn and get a shot away, scoring in a similar manner to Torres’ goal, sending it across the face and in to the opposite corner of the net.
Houston started the match well, earning two corners in the first two minutes of play as they took te attack to FC Dallas. Getting the first shot on goal through Juan Cabezas’ header off the second of those corners but his effort went wide.
After that strong start from Houston, FC Dallas started to control the match from the fifth minute, but similarly to Houston they struggled to create chances. The most embarrassing miss came in the 10th minute when Michael Barrios shot straight at a Houston Dynamo defender prone on the ground.
Dynamo had their best early chance in the 14th minute when a neat pass from Torres set up Mauro Manotas. That allowed him to get free at goal and shoot but he sent his shot across the face and wide of goal.
Barrios nearly equalized just four minutes after FC Dallas conceded as he was allowed space on the edge of the area. His effort curled toward goal, but not enough as it came off the top of the side netting, without a deflection despite Barrios’ protests.
The match calmed after the drinks break on the half-hour as both teams looked to settle on the ball more. But Dallas too often rushed their attempts to get the ball in to the box, not waiting for an actual solid opportunity, which hurt their chances of pulling back in to the match.
Only a beautiful sliding challenge from Leonardo kept FC Dallas off the scoresheet as Diaz was making a run in to the box. Diaz was looking to get clean through on goal from the left but Leonardo slid in, perfectly getting the ball out for a corner which Diaz would send out for a throw, keeping it 1-0 at half-time.
A nasty foul by Atiba Harris gave Houston their first clear chance of the second half through the resulting free-kick. The ball was swung in to a Juan Cabezas, who was left inexplicably wide open but sent his free header wide of goal.
“I am in disagreement with the referee,” said Cabrera, “that was a red card, and he never left the midfield… he wasn’t up to the game.”
Some stunning team defending from FC Dallas kept the match level in the 77th minute as three Dallas defenders managed to stay on their feet and defend against the opportunity. That meant that Alex couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet.
Alex was not given the start and Cabrera was blunt as to why “in the last three or four games, Alex hasn’t been very effective, while Oscar has been, so that’s an easy decision.”
In the 79th minute the derby atmosphere finally started to show up as the players got involved in a scuffle after the ball went out for a Dynamo corner. That resulted in Dynamo midfielder Alex and FC Dallas defender Hernan Grana receiving yellow cards for their roles in the scuffle.
Torres should have gone down in the box in stoppage time as he was held back by his defender, but he remained on his feet. That saw him lose possession and instead of getting the penalty, Dallas was able to clear, holding on for the 1-1 draw.