Houston holds on in careless 2nd half

Dynamo 2-0 in last two home games after edging Portland 2-1

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Photo Credit: 
Anthony Vasser/Houston Dynamo

The Houston Dynamo’s path to securing a big win over the Portland Timbers on Sunday night was anything but easy.

Houston took a two-goal lead into halftime after controlling possession
and enjoying the better chances, but the advantage seemed to motivate
Portland after the break. John Spencer’s crew came out with fire and
passion and made their intentions clear early: pressure the Dynamo.

“In the first half, our shape was good and the passing was good,” head
coach Dominic Kinnear said. “When you possess the ball, it makes it easy
on yourself. In the second half, we were a little careless with the
ball at times, and it gave them some possession, so we started chasing
the game.”

Following Jack Jewsbury's 56th-minute goal, the Dynamo found themselves
working hard to keep possession while trying to earn a second win in
their last three games. Despite Portland threatening down the
stretch, the Dynamo were able to kill the game off with solid defense.

“We got off to a good start, but that first 60 [minutes] took a lot out
of us,” forward Brian Ching said. “This is the way we should’ve been
playing all year, especially at home, but we can’t pat ourselves on the
back just yet. But we did jump up to third place in the East.”

Inches away
Ching notched the goal that proved to be the game-winner, but he later lamented his missed chance to ice the game.

With Houston up 2-0 and hunting for a third, Geoff Cameron served up a
chance for Ching — who was free in front of goal — to put the game away.
However, Ching could not put a strong shot on goal, and Portland
goalkeeper Troy Perkins pinned the ball on the goal
line, though there was some debate about whether the ball had crossd the line.

“I fault myself for not putting the game away in the first half,” Ching
said. “If I score that third one, it’s not that close in the end. I
thought it was over the line. I thought I saw some green in between the
ball and the line, but there’s no way the refs could’ve seen that.”

Costly's first start
Fresh off a standout performance with the Honduran national team
midweek, forward Carlo Costly got a start in his home debut, going 57
minutes in Sunday’s match. The Honduran was not able to impact the scoreline but did impress with his ability to hold the ball and combine with
his teammates while fighting off fatigue.

“He made an impact in this game and worked hard,” Ching said. “He’s a
little tired with the travel and big games he’s had, but we look forward
to getting some good games from him.”

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