Maybe the Houston Dynamo should start listing Andre Hainault as a forward.
The Canadian international picked up right where he left off in the 2011 playoffs – during which he scored goals against the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City scoring a stoppage-time winner to give Houston a 1-0 victory over Chivas USA Sunday evening.
While he’s been clutch for the team late in games, head coach Dominic Kinnear is not ready to reclassify his right back.
“Let’s not get carried away,” Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com after the match with a chuckle. “He was there for a corner kick and the ball fell to him and he did well. He seems to pop up and score some important goals for us and that was a good goal for us.”
Hainault pulled off a heads-up play to finally beat Chivas goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who looked to be on his way to besting Houston after making seven saves throughout the match. But on a 92nd-minute set piece Hainault was the beneficiary of a deflected Adam Moffat blast, turning and burying a left-footed shot in the far side netting.
“The one thing you can say about Andre is he’s always alert and he doesn’t take plays off going forward or at the back,” Kinnear said. “Dan Kennedy played well but we had some good chances and you hope on another day we score some of those.”
Hainault’s goal capped a win that saw Houston create numerous opportunities in front of goal. The Dynamo kept Kennedy busy all day, taking 15 shots and forcing a save from the goalkeeper on seven of those occasions, four off the foot of sophomore striker Will Bruin. Houston did well, especially in the second half, in possession and kept Chivas under constant pressure on their way to only their second opening-day win ever.
“If you’re not creating chances it does cause worry but with the chances we created tonight we were due for a goal but sometimes the goalkeeper’s having a good day,” Kinnear said. “All in all I think it was a big positive for us.”
Darrell Lovell can be reached for comment at Darrell.A.Lovell@gmail.com.