The Dynamo used an own goal and strikes from Geoff Cameron and Dominic Oduro to mount an impressive comeback after D.C. goalscorer Andy Najar had helped the home side control play for much of the game.
Just as the Wizards had done on Wednesday, Houston produced three unanswered goals in the second half as United proved unable to convert its early ascendancy into a commanding lead. It marks the latest of many times that D.C. has blown leads in the final stages.
Both sides made changes to their first XI following defeats in their previous matches. Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear went with a different pairing up front with Brian Ching and Joseph Ngwenya and deployed Richard Mulrooney at right back, while Ryan Cochrane started in place of the suspended Bobby Boswell. D.C. interim coach Ben Olsen returned Designated Player Branko Boskovic to the center of the midfield, with Stephen King making his way to the bench.
Najar opened the scoring on a fine solo effort in the 29th minute. United striker Pablo Hernandez was clipped by Cochrane in front of the Dynamo bench near midfield, but referee Alex Prus played advantage, and Santino Quaranta quickly blasted a cross-field ball to Najar. The 17-year-old Honduran slashed past Andrew Hainault and juked his way around Adrian Serioux before depositing a left-footed finish into the roof of the net past goalkeeper Pat Onstad.
With the strike, his fifth in MLS play, Najar tied the United club record for goals scored by a rookie, a mark jointly held by Quaranta and Freddy Adu.
The Dynamo looked out of sorts in the first half, especially up the middle. Though Ching and Ngwenya were working hard up top, Cameron and Lovel Palmer struggled to find a rhythm in the engine room, and Najar’s presence often kept left winger Brad Davis from asserting himself in the attack.
D.C. maintained its superiority after the break as first Hernandez, then Danny Allsopp directed headers over the bar. The RFK faithful thought their side had doubled the lead on the hour mark when Hernandez forced a diving parry from Onstad and Allsopp stroked home the rebound, but the offside flag was up.
The chronic inability to finish off the opposition has been a major ingredient in United’s struggles this season, and the syndrome struck again on this occasion. In the 66th minute, Houston's Mulrooney made a rare run forward and drove a cross over Perkins to the back post where Najar had lost track of Davis. The dropping ball clanged off the Dynamo veteran’s shin, but the poor touch still proved effective as it hit a wrong-footed Devon McTavish and dribbled into the empty net to draw Houston level.
Houston did not take long to cash in on its new-found momentum. Cameron latched onto a well-hit free kick delivery from Davis into the United box in the 70th minute and snapped an angled header into the net as Perkins got a touch but could not keep it out.
The game’s conclusion was marred by several lengthy delays. Prus gave Julius James a yellow card for a foul on second-half sub Oduro, and he ejected both head coaches for what seemed to be dissent. Then Onstad required treatment after an ugly collision with Hainault that seemed to leave the goalkeeper dazed and disoriented.
United tried to mount a late barrage but were caught on the counterattack, as Oduro raced into a huge gap and beat the advancing Perkins for the clincher, clinching the comeback win.
Houston Dynamo (7-14-5) vs. D.C. United (5-18-3)
September 25, 2010 -- RFK Stadium, Washington, DC
DC -- Andy Najar 5 (Santino Quaranta 2) 29
HOU -- Own goal (Devon McTavish) 66
HOU -- Geoff Cameron 2 (Brad Davis 9) 70
HOU -- Dominic Oduro 4 (Brian Ching 3, Lovel Palmer 1) 100+
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Richard Mulrooney (
Substitutes Not Used: Tyler Deric, Sammy Appiah, Mike Chabala, Cam Weaver.
D.C. United --
Substitutes Not Used: Chase Harrison, , Stephen King, , .
HOU -- Ryan Cochrane (caution; Persistent Infringement) 29
DC -- Andy Najar (caution; Reckless Tackle) 69
DC -- Jed Zayner (caution; Reckless Foul) 79
HOU -- Brad Davis (caution; Delaying a Restart) 82
DC -- Julius James (caution; Persistent Infringement) 89
HOU -- Geoff Cameron (caution; Reckless Foul) 93+
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: George Gansner; Adam Wienckowski
4th official: Landis Wiley
Weather: Partly Cloudy-and-85-degrees
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial