Games between teams from the United States and Mexico always seem to end up with some extracurricular activity, and Wednesday night’s match between Houston and Puebla, which the Dynamo won 1-0, was no different.
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“Overall, to come out on top of this group, I am pleased for the guys,” said Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear. “It was a tough game, as [there were] some chances on both sides, and you saw two teams that were tired toward the end of the week.”
As the ruckus between the two teams in the final 10 minutes of the game showed, the rivalry between the neighboring countries extends all the way down to club teams. But though they had their differences on the field, both sides were in agreement that the Guatemalan referee Oscar Reyna made some questionable calls.
Reyna issued eight yellow cards on the night and four red cards, with all four ejections coming in the second half.
“It was a little disappointing in that aspect of the game in the sense that I think it could have been controlled better,” said Dynamo forward Brian Ching.
Perhaps the most questionable decision of the night was forward Dominic Oduro’s sending off. During play, Oduro received a single yellow card for diving and then was shown a red card. The official match report, however, indicates that Oduro received a second yellow for dissent.
“I don’t know what to say. I thought it was my first yellow card,” noted Oduro. “I hope he checks it out. Hopefully we can talk to SuperLiga and they can fix it, as I want to play in the semifinals.”
Regardless of the officiating, both teams created multiple quality chances in the second half that ended either with the ball deflecting off the woodwork or a quality save. Ultimately, though, Houston was able to convert on one of its second-half chances after a dry first half for both teams.
“Congratulate the winner,” said Puebla head coach José Luis Sánchez Solá. “My respect is always for the rivals, and if they win, more respect. They beat us well, and we have to learn.”
Oduro, who scored the lone goal on the night, wanted to make clear after the game that despite the pushing and shoving, all is forgotten.
“It is always competitive with teams from Mexico, and it’s always a feisty game, so I don’t think it was unexpected,” noted Oduro. “It was a fun game, no hard feelings. I am glad we played well and we won. We are on top of the group, and that is what we wanted.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.