Houston's Mr. October
Just call Andre Hainault ‘Mr. October.’ Or maybe, in his native Quebec, 'Monsieur Octobre.'
When the 25-year-old defender opened the scoring in the fifth minute of Sunday’s first leg at Philadelphia, it was just his fifth goal in 92 career appearances for the Dynamo in all competitions over the past three seasons. Remarkably, all five goals have come on the road in the month of October, with Hainault contributing on the scoresheet in four of Houston’s last seven road wins.
“It’s funny that I score all my goals on the road and they’ve come late in the season, but I’ll take them when they come,” Hainault said. “It was nice to get the one in Portland [on October 14] and the one last night, so I’m happy.”
Not surprisingly, all five goals have come with the 6-foot Hainault pushed into the penalty area for Dynamo set pieces. His first career goal came in Houston’s 3-2 win at Chivas USA in October 2009, a win that pushed the Dynamo into a tie for first place in the Western Conference. He added goals on the road last year at Philadelphia – so far his only tally with his feet after a Davis corner kick was cleared – and San Jose, directly from a corner kick.
In 2011, he has found the net from a pair of free kicks, beginning when he cut around a pick to head in a near-post cross for the crucial opening goal at Portland in that high-pressure win. Against Philadelphia, Davis provided a terrific ball from a long-range free kick on the right sideline, and Hainault squeezed in at the near post to head past a motionless Faryd Mondragon.
“It was one of those free kicks that we’ve had all year,” Hainault said. “I got into a good position, and Brad put a ball in a dangerous spot where the goalie was caught halfway and the defenders couldn’t stick with it, and I was able to flick it on.”
Hainault may be sad to see October end, but he did not close the door on adding a sixth career goal as the postseason continues. In fact, he still remembers that his most famous goal for the Dynamo may well be the one that did not count; his header against the LA Galaxy in the 2009 Western Conference final was ruled out for what the Dynamo saw a questionable foul call.
“I’m still owed one,” Hainault joked. “I’m going to leave that valve wide open. The biggest thing for me is to get a zero with the back line, but everybody likes to score – I’d be lying if I said I didn’t – so I want to get into good spots and keep doing what I’ve been doing these last three weeks.”