Stolica provided a rare moment of class in a frantic match by thumping home a first-time volley with his right foot in the 62nd minute, extending New England's unbeaten streak to eight matches in all competitions. Houston pressed forward in the late stages in an attempt to secure a point, but the Dynamo fell to their third loss in four matches and 10th consecutive winless match in league play.
New England coach Steve Nicol gave Stolica his full debut as one of two changes to the side that drew 1-1 in Philadelphia last Saturday. Stolica partnered the returning Marko Perovic up front as Kenny Mansally and Zack Schilawski settled for a place on the bench. With Kevin Alston sidelined for a second consecutive week with a left hamstring strain, the Revs altered their back line with Cory Gibbs stationed at left back, Darrius Barnes and Emmanuel Osei once again patrolling central defense, and Chris Tierney filling Alston's vacancy on the right.
Geoff Cameron started for the first time since April 24 after making two substitute appearances last week upon his return from a ruptured right PCL. He revived his partnership with Bobby Boswell in central defense as Eddie Robinson dropped to the bench. Andrew Hainault switched to left back to replace the suspended Mike Chabala, while Richard Mulrooney replaced Hainault on the right. Lovel Palmer and Anthony Obodai earn the start in central midfield with Brad Davis (left quad strain) ruled out, while Brian Mullan replaced Joseph Ngwenya up front.
Neither side conjured up much in the way of chances in a ragged and rushed first half. Houston forward Brian Ching squandered the best opportunity of the half in the 23rd minute after Corey Ashe swung in a free kick from the right flank. Ashe's ball from the right located Ching's run toward goal, but the former U.S. national team striker pushed his free header wide from 12 yards.
The opening period of the second half continued along the same lines before Stolica grabbed the opener from nothing. Sainey Nyassi launched a wayward volley from the right wing to seemingly halt the move. Stolica stopped the low drive dead with his left foot at the top of the Dynamo penalty area and lashed it home on his next touch to mark his full debut with his first MLS goal.
Smith should have doubled the New England lead and sealed the points with a quarter of an hour to play. New England mounted their best attacking move of the night with Perovic and Stolica prominently involved before Shalrie Joseph played Smith into space on the left side of the penalty area. The Bermudan international attempted to finish first-time, but his side-footed effort flew over the bar from close range.
Houston attempted to locate the equalizer by committing numbers into the attack as the match drew to a close, but the Dynamo could not engineer the chance required to snatch a draw and avoid a second consecutive defeat.
Houston Dynamo (5-10-5) vs. New England Revolution (6-9-3)
August 14, 2010 -- Gillette Stadium, Foxborough MA
NE -- Ilija Stolica 1 (Sainey Nyassi 2) 62
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Richard Mulrooney, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Andrew Hainault, Danny Cruz, Anthony Obodai (Cam Weaver 77), Lovel Palmer (Eddie Robinson 87), Corey Ashe (Joseph Ngwenya 46), Brian Mullan, Brian Ching.
Substitutes Not Used: Pat Onstad, Sammy Appiah, Ryan Cochrane, Dominic Oduro.
New England Revolution -- Matt Reis, Emmanuel Osei, Darrius Barnes, Cory Gibbs, Chris Tierney, Sainey Nyassi, Shalrie Joseph, Pat Phelan, Khano Smith (Roberto Linck 84), Ilija Stolica (Kenny Mansally 76), Marko Perovic (Jason Griffiths 90).
Substitutes Not Used: Tim Murray, Bobby Shuttleworth, Zack Schilawski, Seth Sinovic.
NE -- Khano Smith (caution; Game Disrepute) 41
HOU -- Danny Cruz (caution; Game Disrepute) 41
HOU -- Anthony Obodai (caution; Tactical Foul) 76
Referee: Jair Marrufo
Referee's Assistants: C.J. Morgante; Cyril Madukanya
4th official: Chris Penso
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial