The injury-depleted Houston Dynamo needed the only two healthy forwards on their roster to step up in a big way as the team entered a stretch of four games in 13 days.
On Saturday night against the Kansas City Wizards, Luis Landin and Dominic Oduro did just that, combining for one goal and three assists as the Dynamo eased to a 3-0 victory.
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“I thought [the play of Landín and Oduro] was good,” Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I thought Dominic was good all night. His speed, his decision making was excellent. Luis was a good body in there that held the ball up well and combined at times, and I thought both those guys played well tonight.”
The Wizards entered the night having only conceded one goal in their first four games. However, in the 24th minute Landín notched the first goal of the game from Oduro's assist. It was Landín’s second career MLS goal, and both have come against the Wizards.
“We kind of really needed him to step up for this game,” Oduro said. “After he scored, he just proved to us that we needed him and he was right there. That was good for us going forward.”
The early goal, the Texas humidity and a somewhat harsh red card to Wizards midfielder Davy Arnaud allowed Houston to pressure the visitors throughout, which led to two more goals and numerous other opportunities.
“I thought the early goal definitely helped; it took the wind from their sails,” Houston midfielder Corey Ashe said. “The red card definitely didn’t help them, but we took advantage of that, adjusted well and we kept pushing the pace. It could have easily been five or six to nothing.”
Landín also notched a turnover and quickly fed Brian Mullan for the team’s second goal and Mullan’s first MLS goal since August 31, 2008. Landín later exited the game in the 71st minute after taking a kick to the back of the leg. However, both the forward and Kinnear said the injury isn't serious.
“I think it just hurt,” Kinnear said. “Hopefully it’s not something too serious as he walked off the field and into the locker room. Fingers crossed that he’s OK.”
However, Landín’s exit allowed rookie midfielder Sammy Appiah to make his debut. The midfielder took full advantage of his fist MLS minutes by scoring his first professional goal after Oduro set the rookie up.
After coming off a disappointing performance last week against the Fire, Houston were happy to rebound. But there was perhaps no happier player in the locker room than Landín, who enjoyed a long-overdue breakout performance.
“It was very important for the team to win after coming from a loss,” Landín said. “I think I need the whole team, and I think they need me.”