Tally Hall got a measure of redemption Sunday night. The Dynamo goalkeeper made six saves, kept his team in the game, and put on a performance reminiscent of his early season work in Houston’s 0-0 draw at Colorado.
Hall wore the goat horns in Houston’s May 4 loss against Colorado in Houston after a high-profile gaffe gave up a second-half lead. A day shy of two months later, he may well have been wearing a superhero’s cape. His saves were instrumental in Houston pulling a point out of Commerce City – a place they’ve struggled in recent years. Hall commanded his area and stoned a number of attempts from a Rapids team that peppered the Houston goal.
“He commanded the box well and caught some good crosses,” Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “He commanded the back four well, and he had some really good saves.”
Hall started the season on fire, putting together outstanding performances on the road against Seattle and New York in weeks two and three. However, the first-year starter had hit a lull in his performance since the Colorado home loss that set the Dynamo on the tough 10-game stretch they carried into Sunday's game.
“I think it’s important today that we came out with a shutout, especially since I think we’ve been playing hard defensively and mistakes have been happening,” Hall said of Houston’s skid. “Today it came together, and we made sure we weren’t broken down to the point we got scored on.”
While the performance was worthy of man of the match status, it was necessary for a Dynamo squad that struggled to connect in the final third. Houston was not credited with a single shot in the first half and, despite putting together better possession in the second half, were unable to notch a shot on goal. The Dynamo’s inability to challenge Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens made Hall’s performance stand out.
“I think we missed our final touch tonight, and that hurt us in the final third, but defensively we were OK and that really helped,” Kinnear said. “Any time you have a shutout, you have the goalkeeper and defense playing well, and that’s a good thing.”
Hall’s performance was the highlight of the night, but more important for Kinnear & co. is the point the team takes away. The point keeps the Dynamo going in a positive direction after the 2-2 road draw against D.C. United last week. With three of its next four league games at home, Houston has the chance to make a charge up the standings. For that to happen, Hall will need to build on his performance against the Rapids.
“We would have been disappointed to come out with nothing tonight … because we were up against it with this being a tough place to play,” Kinnear said. “We’re in the second half of the season, and sometimes it’s easier said than done, but we need to start getting some wins going here soon.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer