Defense flexes muscles at Rio Tinto

Hainault shines as Dynamo vex Real Salt Lake attack

HOU_20110514_RSL_Hainault

Photo Credit: 
George Frey / Getty Images

A solid defense will take a team a long way in MLS, and the latest
effort from the Houston Dynamo back line was the type of performance
that might turn a few heads.

In a tight scoreless draw at Real Salt Lake this past Saturday, the
Dynamo reassured everyone, including themselves, that they have the
ability to lock down a championship-caliber attack.

WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Yes, RSL played without injured talisman Javier Morales and went
with Katy Mayde Creek product Arturo Alvarez up top instead of injured Fabián Espíndola. But they
still managed 13 scoring chances at Rio Tinto Stadium and controlled 55
percent of the possession — yet Houston held the Claret-and-Cobalt
attack to just one shot on goal.

“[The performance] was nice for Tally [Hall, Houston goalkeeper] and
the defense back there,” defender Andre Hainault said. “They had some
chances, but I thought the team defended well from the front line, and
that’s a good sign.”

Hainault led Saturday’s effort with an excellent performance. The
Canadian international — who is likely to be called into his country’s
squad for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup — broke up several dangerous RSL
build-ups and made three saving tackles in the Dynamo’s penalty box.

Hainault, however, was just one part of a solid group effort that
included Corey Ashe, Bobby Boswell, and Hunter Freeman all stepping up to
break up plays and stuff RSL’s attempts to create clear scoring
chances.

“You’ve got Corey on the left ,who can take the ball out of the
back, and I think he played some good balls there, and Bobby and I
communicate pretty well, so it was pretty good,” Hainault said. “I
didn’t really think of our [strong] play until after the game, because I
was so focused on us trying to get that win, but it’s nice and it’s a
good sign.”

Tale of two halves
While the defensive effort was there the entire match, it took a
while for the Dynamo offense to gain control of the match. The club
surrendered 62 percent of the possession in the first half and struggled
to create chances as a result.

The game picked up from both teams in the second half,  but Houston sustained that momentum and dominated the final 25-plus
minutes of the match.

“We didn’t just sit back and soak it up and let Tally pull
off wonderful saves,” head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “We played some
good stuff going forward.”

Bruin quick on the draw
It’s normal for a rookie to defer to veteran teammates when they
first enter the league. But that’s not the case for Dynamo forward Will
Bruin
. The rookie once again led the Dynamo in shots on goal (two) and
shots (three) on Saturday, and he is currently ranked fourth in the
league in shots (27).

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.