Macoumba Kandji struck twice and Bobby Boswell added a third as the Houston Dynamo ran away with a 3-0 win over visiting Montreal Impact on Saturday night to rise to third place in the Eastern Conference.
After a testy 4-2 loss to the Impact nearly a month ago, Houston returned the favor and handed the expansion team their 10th loss on the road while extending their unbeaten streak at home to 18, which dates back to June 2011.
Kandji was the star, scoring the bookend goals in Saturday’s rout. His first tally was a seventh-minute goal that took five touches to find the back of the net. On a sequence that included two touches from Kandji, two from Montreal goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and a final one from a Impact defender Zarek Valentin, the Senagalese winger put Houston up early.
After a testy and at times subdued 72 minutes, Kandji capped his brace by streaking down the left side and hitting a powerful right-footed shot into the far upper 90 to cap the scoring in the three-goal victory.
In between Kandji’s exploits, Boswell put the game away in the 84th minute when the center back snapped home a corner kick from second-half sub Brad Davis to make it 2-0. The goal capped a special night for Boswell, who sported the captain's armband in MLS play for the first time since May 29, 2010.
Houston’s win caps a nine-point week for Houston and, combined with a Saturday loss from D.C. United, propels them to 34 points and sole possession of third place in the Eastern Conference.
Montreal fired the opening shots in the match, pushing the ball up the field early and putting the Dynamo defense on notice with Designated Player Marco Di Vaio pulling the strings and releasing his teammates into dangerous areas.
In the first 10 minutes alone, Montreal had two crosses and two shots from inside Houston’s 18-yard box, with Lamar Neagle a fraction away from giving the visitors an early lead. In just the 2nd minute of play, the winger found space on a corner kick and headed a shot to the far post, beating Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall but not the post.
Houston settled quickly, however, and took the lead on Kandji’s goal and had another waved off in the 12th minute, when Andre Hainault latched onto a headed ball in the box and snapped it home. The far-side assistant referee, however, had his flag up for offside.
The second half started on a more subdued pace and did not pick up in the form of chances until the 65th minute, when Montreal's Shavar Thomas made a goal-saving play to keep Kandji from scoring again. Houston's 6-foot-4 winger beat an offside trap and a charging Ricketts to get in on goal only to have Thomas make a well-executed tackle from behind to keep the score 1-0.
With the effects of a congested schedule and humidity setting in, the Impact’s speedy Sanna Nyassi took two attempts in the 76th and 78th minute from inside the 18-yard box only to see the Dynamo's compact back line and Hall stand tall.
Hassoun Camara attempted to pull one back for the Impact with a powerful header in stoppage time but was rebuffed by a leaping save from Hall.
Houston extended their undefeated streak to six and will travel to BMO Field next Saturday to face Toronto FC.
Houston Dynamo (9-5-7) vs. Montreal Impact (7-13-3)
July 21, 2012 BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
HOU: Macoumba Kandji 2 (Will Bruin 3, Calen Carr 1) 7
HOU: Bobby Boswell 2 (Brad Davis 7) 84
HOU: Macoumba Kandji 3 (Brad Davis 8) 89
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe; Boniek Garcia, Warren Creavalle, Luiz Camargo (Brad Davis 68); Calen Carr (Je-Vaughn Watson 58), Will Bruin (Brian Ching 82), Macoumba Kandji
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Nathan Sturgis, Brian Ownby, Alex Dixon
Montreal Impact: Donovan Ricketts, Zarek Valentin (Karl Ouimette 26), Hassoun Camara, Shavar Thomas, Dennis Iapichino, Davy Arnaud, Collen Warner, Felipe Martins, Lamar Neagle (Justin Mapp 74); Sanna Nyassi, Marco Di Vaio (Patrice Bernier 61)
Substitutes not used: Evan Bush, Josh Gardner, Eduardo Sebrango, Sinisa Ubiparipovic
MTL: Shavar Thomas (caution) 67
MTL: Dennis Iapichino (caution) 74
Referee: David Gantar
Referee's Assistants: Adam Garner, Scott Kachmarik
4th Official: Armando Villareal