Cam Weaver came through in a big way last Saturday night for the Houston Dynamo, providing a crucial equalizing goal to preserve a result at tough Red Bull Arena.
Coming on in the 39th minute for the injured Brian Ching – who was having a very good first half but left the match clutching his side – Weaver immediately picked up where the Dynamo captain left off. The 6-foot-4 forward provided a physical presence, holding the ball up and helping to set up Houston’s counterattacks when New York pushed numbers forward.
Weaver put his stamp on the match in the 50th minute, beating Rafa Márquez to a loose ball and putting a deft chip over New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul for the tying goal. Weaver now has three goals in last eight games, dating back to the 2010 season, and only four of those games have been starts.
“It was one of the only times we were able to get the ball forward,” Weaver said. “Will [Bruin] won the ball well, and I was just able to time the run well. I saw Bouna come off his line a little bit, and I knew if I took it early it had a chance to get up over him. I was just happy to see it go back in the net.”
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: New York 1, Houston 1
The importance of Weaver’s goal was magnified by coming just three minutes after New York took the lead. The quick response was just what the doctor ordered after the Dynamo started the second half slowly after controlling the match in an excellent first half. Providing a swift answer kept the game in reach and did not allow a very talented New York team to establish possession and take the game out of the Dynamo’s hands.
“I think [the quick response] was very important, because if you look at the second half, they had the ball almost the entire half, and obviously that half we're going to be doing a lot of chasing,” Weaver said. “And the more possession they have, the more tired were going to get, and the harder it's going to get for us to build the attack.”
Bruin and Hall get first career assists
Rookie Will Bruin and goalkeeper Tally Hall were both credited with their first assist of their MLS careers on Saturday. Hall got credit for his goal kick that Bruin then flicked into space for Weaver. For Hall – who has the franchise’s only goal by a goalkeeper – it was a rare chance to get involved in the attack.
“Cam timed it well, and it was a class finish,” Hall said. “I’m just happy to be a part of the offense and help out on that side of the ball.”
Ashe impressive in start at left back
One move that paid off Saturday night for the Dynamo was employing left midfielder Corey Ashe at left back. Ashe shut down New York’s right flank throughout the first half and held his own as part of a Dynamo back line that survived a late New York onslaught.
“I thought he did well and shut down the left side,” Hall said. “[New York’s] got some fast players and he did very well to lock them down.”
Dixon makes MLS debut
Home-grown signing Alex Dixon made his MLS debut in the 73rd minute Saturday night, joining first-round SuperDraft picks Kofi Sarkodie and Bruin as debuting rookies in 2011. Dixon – a graduate of Atascocita High School in Humble, Texas – joins Francisco Navas Cobo and Tyler Deric as home-grown signings to play an MLS match for the Dynamo.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.