The Houston Dynamo played shorthanded for most of the second half, playing the last 20 minutes with only nine players, but still came away with a 1-1 tie against Sporting Kansas City at Robertson Stadium Saturday night. Houston remains one point ahead of Kansas City and D.C. United for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall stole the show, tying a career high in MLS play with eight saves to keep Houston in the match. He made spectacular saves on C.J. Sapong, Graham Zusi, and Birahim Diop, among others. Kansas City finally tied the match in the 90th minute on a shot that took a deflection and left Hall with no chance.
Houston played shorthanded beginning in the 51st minute, when midfielder Colin Clark was ejected for a hard tackle against Kansas City’s Aurelien Collin. The Dynamo went down to nine players in the 70th minute when Brian Ching was whistled for a hard foul against Collin.
The Dynamo held the lead into the final minute thanks to an eighth-minute goal from Brad Davis. The Houston midfielder curved a 30-yard free kick over the wall and inside the right-hand post for his third goal of the year. The goal was the first by Davis from a direct free kick in league play since May 30, 2009.
Kansas City outshot Houston 18-6 for the match and finally broke through in the 90th minute when Aurelien Collin fired a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area that deflected off a Dynamo defender and tied the game. The goal broke a 286-minute shutout streak by Houston and was the first goal scored against the Dynamo since June 26.
Houston defender Jermaine Taylor left the match at halftime with concussion-like symptoms after a collision with Kansas City’s Chance Myers. Taylor returned to the Houston bench for the second half and will be evaluated this week.
For Houston, defenders Bobby Boswell and Hunter Freeman both came on as substitutes for their first appearances since June 18. The appearance was the 180th of Boswell’s MLS career and the 100th career MLS appearance for Freeman.
Saturday’s game was the second time in 172 all-time MLS regular season matches the Dynamo had multiple players ejected. The only other occasion in league play came on October 10, 2010, but the second ejection in that game came in stoppage time. The Dynamo have had multiple players ejected twice in international competition, including a club record three red cards in a 2009 game in Panama.
The Dynamo played without forward Calen Carr (concussion).
HOUSTON DYNAMO HEAD COACH DOMINIC KINNEAR
"I give the guys all the credit for getting that point. They stuck together and played their hearts out. They ran their legs until they were likely exhausted. Tally [Hall] came up with some wonderful saves and was holding strong and then they got a deflected goal. Looking at the chances maybe they were due one but it sure would have been nice to come out with three points. It was a tough night to go two down. I’m very proud of the guys. The attitude is something to be very happy with."
On the Dynamo’s play after the first red card
"I thought we did OK. We didn’t panic. When you’re down to nine you have no one to pass the ball to. Tally was very composed back there. He was under a lot of pressure as was the back four, well all nine were, but the heads didn’t go down and we defended and tried to make things difficult and that’s what we did."
On the red cards
"The second one was a red card. The first was difficult. The first tackle of the game was a foul and I thought ‘if that’s the way the game’s going to be called there won’t be much happening’. Colin didn’t leave his feet but he put the decision in the ref’s hands and he thought it was a red card. Last time we played with nine men was four or five years ago. It’s always tough with the heat and then we had to make sub at halftime. It was a hard-earned point but it was well deserved. Things didn’t go the way we wanted too but the one thing we can’t question is the attitude of the players."
On playing a 4-3-3 to start the game
We were trying to go with the three up high to match them because they are the most effective at it with their pace. We didn’t want them to have the passing lanes and I think we did that for the first 20 minutes and then we starting knocking the ball long to Brian [Ching]. Every ball he received after that was above his head and it made it tough on him. Defensively we were doing fine and not giving up too much. If we would have been a little more confident on the ball we would have done OK. Give them credit, they put us under pressure and they have imposing forwards.
On Tally Hall’s performance
He had a couple of good saves. The save on [Birahim] Diop’s long shot was excellent and the one down to his right against [C.J.] Sapong was good. He commanded his box well and came out and got some good ones. The goal that got by him was something he probably had covered but unfortunately it got deflected. I thought Tally was excellent tonight.
DYNAMO FORWARD BRIAN CHING
"I made a bad decision and we got punished for it. I cost the team two points. They did extremely well to be men, stand up, and not give up and fight till the end."
"Tally started the season off strong. He had a little mistake in the Colorado game, lost a little confidence, but over the past 4-5 games he stood on his head for us. I give complete credit to him and feel bad for him. I feel bad for him to get scored on a deflection after the effort him and the boys left on the field."
DYNAMO GOALKEEPER TALLY HALL
"It’s always good to get out in the game and get an early goal. I couldn’t see the second one which was called back. The two red cards make the game difficult. It becomes a dog match for you. The guys worked really hard and it was fun to be behind them and see the work they were putting out and see how much each player wanted that win."
"I’m glad on the nights that there are a lot of shots, I make more saves. It would be unfortunate on a night when there are a lot of shots that I don’t make more saves. That’s the role I had to play today but I’m glad I could help the team out. It’s kind of cliché but it’s all about the team and if you can’t get that by watching the performance the guys put on the field than you are missing something out there."