The Houston Dynamo registered yet another preseason victory on Thursday with a 3-2 victory over Toronto FC to close out the first day of the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Dynamo’s victory sets up an all-Texas MLS final on Saturday night as Houston will meet FC Dallas, 1-0 winners over Orlando City in the opening matchup of the night. Toronto FC will take on Orlando City in Saturday’s third-place match. Both matches can be seen on ESPN3.com.
After a four-goal first half in which Toronto FC twice took the lead only to see Houston equalize on both occasions, second-half substitute Cam Weaver broke the tie on a header to give Houston the lead for good.
It was Toronto winger Jacob Peterson who got the scoring underway in the seventh minute when he ran onto a Nick LaBrocca through ball into the box and deposited the ball under the crossbar after only seven minutes of play. Houston midfielder Geoff Cameron equalized seven minutes later when he collected a Lovel Palmer ball into the box. After a perfect chest trap, Cameron rifled a shot inside the right post to equalize at 1-1.
The Canadian club restored its lead on a penalty kick converted by Dwayne De Rosario in the 30th minute after Javier Martina was taken down in the box.
The Dynamo’s equalizer came on the most spectacular goal of the night, as Brad Davis applied a clinical left-footed finish, curling a free kick into the top left corner of the goal two minutes before the halftime whistle.
Houston captured the lead for the first time in the 68th minute when Weaver nodded home a cross by Danny Cruz from the right flank to put the Dynamo up 3-2.
Toronto’s attack suffered when De Rosario was substituted after suffering an apparent knock. The best look at goal for TFC came on a shot from 20 yards out by forward Maicon Santos, who put it just high of the crossbar in the 71st minute.
The Dynamo could have added to their lead in the 82nd minute, but rookie forward Will Bruin was twice denied by Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei, who stopped a close-range shot and a header in a span of 30 seconds. Bruin had come into the match early in the first half to replace Brian Ching, who came off with what Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear termined a minor hamstring injury.
Toronto FC vs. Houston Dynamo
February 24, 2011 -- ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando FL
Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic semifinals
TFC -- Jacob Peterson (Nick LaBrocca) 7
HOU -- Geoff Cameron (Lovel Palmer) 11
TFC -- Dwayne De Rosario (penalty kick) 30
HOU -- Brad Davis (unassisted) 43
HOU -- Cam Weaver (Danny Cruz) 68
Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Demitrius Omphroy (Dan Gargan 46), Nana Attakora (Matt Stinson 46), Adrian Cann, Mikael Yourassowsky, Ivo de Heus, Dwayne De Rosario (Oscar Cordon 60), Nick LaBrocca (Gianluca Zavarise 46), Jacob Peterson (Joao Plata 69), Jamal Gay (Maicon Santos 61), Javier Martina (Nick Soolsma 46).
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall (Tyler Deric 60), Kofi Sarkodie (Hunter Freeman 46), Eddie Robinson (Bobby Boswell 46), Andrew Hainault (Jermaine Taylor 46), Mike Chabala (Jordan Graye 61), Corey Ashe (Josue Soto 65), Lovel Palmer (Alex Dixon 61), Geoff Cameron (Richard Edwards 46), Brad Davis (Danny Cruz 46), Brian Ching (Will Bruin 23, Francisco Navas Cobo 87), Jason Garey (Cam Weaver 46).
HOU -- Eddie Robinson (caution) 28
TFC -- Gianluca Zavarise (caution) 77
HOU -- Jermaine Taylor (caution) 92+
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry; James Conlee
4th Official: Joshua Thompson
Attendance: c. 1,000
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial