Defensive mistakes continue to haunt the Houston Dynamo, as an Eddie Robinson turnover and a Lovel Palmer own goal gifted the Colorado Rapids a 2-2 tie Saturday night at Robertson Stadium.
Both teams came out a little rusty due to the World Cup break, and the game turned physical early. In the seventh minute, Brian Ching was lucky to only get a yellow card as he left his feet and nailed Pablo Mastroeni's ankle, entirely missing the ball. Later in the half, Conor Casey was also lucky not to see red as he led with his elbows and connected on Robinson on two occasions.
Dynamo midfielder Danny Cruz scored an early candidate for Goal of the Week in the 17th minute. A Dynamo corner was cleared by Colorado’s defense, but Cruz controlled the ball about 35 yards from goal. He proceeded to beat one Rapids player and unleashed a great shot with his left foot from 30 yards out that found the bottom corner of the net.
At the very end of the first half, Conor Casey drew Colorado even after showing nice skills inside the box. The play started when Robinson got too cute with the ball and was stripped by Mehdi Ballouchy, who then fed Casey. The Rapids forward beat several Houston defenders in the box to pull his team level at half.
Early in the second half, Joseph Ngwenya, who was given his first start of the year, almost gave Houston the lead. The Dynamo forward went one-on-one with Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens, but Ngwenya’s effort was saved as Pickens got his paw on the shot while falling backwards.
The Rapids were then gifted another easy goal in the 71st minute. On a Rapids corner kick, Colordao forward Omar Cummings nudged Lovel Palmer as the corner came across. The ball hit off Palmer and into the net, giving Colorado a 2-1 lead.
The Dynamo looked for a response and got it almost immediately, as Cruz again ripped an effort on goal with his left foot, but the ball clanked off both posts without crossing the line. Houston continued to battle, though, and finally equalized in the 80th minute. Second-half substitute Brian Mullan sent a beautiful ball across the box to Ngwenya, who appeared alone in the box after a great run by substitute Dominic Oduro drew the defense towards him. Ngwenya measured the ball perfectly and buried it into the top right corner of the goal for his first league tally since the 2007 MLS Cup final.
Houston had a couple of chances late to pull out a winner, but Mullan narrowly missed teammates as the game ended 2-2. With the loss, Houston now sits in fifth place in the Western Conference with a record of 5-7-2. Up next for the Dynamo is a Tuesday night matchup against Miami FC in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup at Robertson Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
Colorado Rapids (6-3-3) vs. Houston Dynamo (5-7-2)
June 26, 2010 –- Robertson Stadium, Houston TX
HOU -- Danny Cruz 2 (Corey Ashe 2) 17
COL -- Conor Casey 6 (Mehdi Ballouchy 3) 45
COL -- own goal (Lovel Palmer) 71
HOU -- Joseph Ngwenya 1 (Brian Mullan 2, Brian Ching 1) 79
Colorado Rapids -- Matt Pickens, Marvell Wynne, Drew Moor, Scott Palguta, Danny Earls, Omar Cummings (Ross LaBauex 89), Mehdi Ballouchy, Jeff Larentowicz (Wells Thompson 83), Pablo Mastroeni, Jamie Smith (Colin Clark 76), Conor Casey.
Substitutes Not Used: Claudio Lopez, Quincy Amarikwa, Michael Holody, Ian Joyce.
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson (Ryan Cochrane 46), Mike Chabala (Dominic Oduro 74), Danny Cruz, Brad Davis, Lovel Palmer, Corey Ashe (Brian Mullan 62), Joseph Ngwenya, Brian Ching.
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Luis Angel Landin, Richard Mulrooney, Cam Weaver.
HOU -- Brian Ching (caution; Reckless Foul) 7
COL -- Jeff Larentowicz (caution; Reckless Tackle) 68
Referee: Mark Geiger
Referee's Assistants: Anthony Vasoli; Paul Scott
4th official: Chris Penso
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-90-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial