Trying to sweep the season series from their closest geographic rivals, the Dynamo got a boost when Pat Onstad saved a penalty kick in the 13th minute, but Jeff Cunningham made amends with a long-range blast in the 20th minute that proved decisive. After being taken out of the game, Brad Davis was bizarrely ejected while barefoot on the bench after a Dallas player slid into the Dynamo technical area.
The Houston Dynamo failed to extend their lead at the top of the Western Conference standings Thursday, falling 1-0 to intra-state rival FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park. Despite the loss, the Dynamo won the season series against FC Dallas by a 2-1 margin and remain in control of the all-time series with a 9-3-5 mark in all competitions.
The Dynamo also remain in first place in MLS and the Western Conference with 35 points but have now played 21 games, tied for the most in MLS. Houston is back in action on Sunday, hosting the Chicago Fire at Robertson Stadium.
The game’s first big play came from Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad in the 13th minute, when he dove to his right to save Jeff Cunningham’s penalty kick, Onstad’s second penalty kick save in two attempts this year. The save came at the same goalpost on the same goal where Onstad made the decisive save in the 2006 MLS Cup shootout.
Despite that save, Dallas went on top in the 20th minute, when Cunningham broke free from both Dynamo center backs and fired a 25-yard shot inside the right post that Onstad could only get a hand to. It was Cunningham’s ninth goal of the season and fifth in the last two games.
The Dynamo never mounted a serious challenge to tie the game, forcing only one save out of FC Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala. Houston’s Pat Onstad finished with two saves.
The game featured a total of seven yellow cards, four to Houston and three to Dallas, and a bizarre red card in the 73rd minute. FC Dallas midfielder Dave van den Bergh slid to chase a loose ball into the Dynamo bench area, and Dynamo players got up in an attempt to avoid van den Bergh and get the ball to their player for a throw-in. Brad Davis, who had been substituted out of the game, was then issued a red card, possibly for leaving the technical area.
Houston midfielder Ricardo Clark made his 165th career MLS start. Forward Brian Ching made his 90th career start for the Dynamo, and second-year player Geoff Cameron made his 40th, both in all competitions.
Houston was without forward Cam Weaver (hernia surgery), midfielder Brian Mullan (ankle), and defenders Richard Mulrooney (knee surgery) and Eddie Robinson (disabled list).
Houston Dynamo (10-6-5) vs. FC Dallas (6-9-5)
August 06, 2009 -- Pizza Hut Park, Frisco TX
FCD -- Jeff Cunningham 9 (unassisted) 20
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Mike Chabala (Danny Cruz 72), Corey Ashe, Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden, Brad Davis (Julius James 65), Brian Ching (Kei Kamara 46), Dominic Oduro.
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Ade Akinbiyi, Wade Barrett, Craig Waibel.
FC Dallas -- Dario Sala, Drew Moor, Kyle Davies (Daniel Torres 59), Pablo Ricchetti, Jair Benitez, Atiba Harris, Dax McCarty, David Ferreira, Dave van den Bergh, Jeff Cunningham (Blake Wagner 78), Brek Shea (Andre Rocha 24).
Substitutes Not Used: Ray Burse, Eric Avila, Bruno Guarda, Steve Purdy.
HOU - Bobby Boswell (caution; Reckless Foul) 12
HOU -- Pat Onstad (caution; Dissent) 18
FCD -- Pablo Ricchetti (caution; Dissent) 22
FCD -- Atiba Harris (caution; Reckless Tackle) 36
HOU -- Kei Kamara (caution; Dissent) 56
HOU -- Brad Davis (ejection; Abusive Language) 73
FCD -- Dario Sala (caution; Delay of Game) 84
HOU -- Julius James (caution; Reckless Foul) 85
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee's Assistants: Eric Boria; James Conlee
4th official: Jasen Anno
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-92-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial