No matter how much effort a team puts into scoring goals, sometimes it’s better for the ball to just bounce its way. For the Houston Dynamo on Sunday, that was definitely the case.
On a night when the Dynamo pulled out an exciting 1-0 win in the 86th minute, it was not one of the 25 clear shots that that got them the win; it was a tap-in off a hustle play from right back Hunter Freeman off a corner kick that casually rolled over the goal line.
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“Whoever’s in there is suppose to be a distraction so the ‘keeper can’t come out and catch the ball easy,” said head coach Dominic Kinnear of Freeman’s work on the game winner. “[Hunter] took a little bit of a hit in the first half, so for him to keep on in there and be a menace is a testament to him. I don’t think he knew too much about the goal, but I think it’s one of those when you go in there and you make sure the goalkeeper doesn’t have an easy route to catch the ball.”
Without that tap-in, the Dynamo would have left their home field frustrated and upset after a night of chances going just wide or high. But thanks to Freeman carving out space and being in the right place at the right time, the Dynamo head to Chicago next Saturday with momentum on their side.
[inline_node:334125]“It wasn’t a pretty goal, but it was nothing short of what we deserved,” said Kinnear. “We created a lot of chances and, by virtue of watching the replay, I thought we should have had a goal in the run of play. Overall, it was a good attacking night. The goal kind of relieves the frustration and the guys walk off the field happy.”
Kinnear’s sentiments were confirmed in the Dynamo locker room. After peppering New England goalkeeper Matt Reis – who made seven saves – for 85 minutes, Freeman’s goal was justice on a night on which Houston dominated the run of play.
“It was one of those games where we created chances but couldn’t get one to go our way,” said rookie forward Will Bruin, who led the team with nine shots, three of those on goal. “We kept sticking with it and found a way to get [a goal]. A win’s a win, and we gutted it out and got the three points.”
After starting the season slow in the attack, the Dynamo are starting to generate chances – 45 shots in the last two weeks – and dominate possession. With a dominant offensive performance and the ball bouncing their way for the late winner, Kinnear’s team will look to keep momentum going.
“Now we just have to stay positive and take the good from tonight and bring it into next week against Chicago,” midfielder Geoff Cameron said. “We have to use the momentum we have from our play this weekend and use it against Chicago.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.