Both Toronto FC and the Houston Dynamo were working on three-game winning streaks when they met on Saturday.
Now Houston’s is four.
Brad Davis had two assists, Calen Carr scored on a header following a corner kick in the final minute of the first half and Brian Ching struck a late security goal as the Dynamo earned a 2-0 win over the Reds before 19,652 at BMO Field.
The victory was Houston’s first on the road since March 17 and their first in Toronto, a span going back six games since TFC entered the league in 2007.
The Dynamo (10-5-7) are undefeated in seven games while Toronto (5-12-4) are 4-3-4 since Paul Mariner took over as head coach on June 7.
Houston started out smartly in the first half. TFC defender Richard Eckersley foiled an early Dynamo attempt by tracking back to cut off Macoumba Kandji’s threatening run into the box.
Toronto had a chance in the 31st minute when right back Doneil Henry put his head to a Torsten Frings corner kick but the ball found the waiting arms of goalkeeper Tally Hall. The shutout was Hall's ninth of the season and his fifth in the past six games.
Going in, Toronto was concerned about Davis’ set pieces, and their worst fears were realized in the 45th minute. Davis looped in a lovely corner to the near post, where Bobby Boswell flicked it on to the back post. There, an unmarked Carr headed the ball into the bottom right corner for a 1-0 Houston lead.
The goal was the third in three games for Carr, the reigning MLS Player of the Week. It was also the sixth goal allowed by Toronto off a corner kick this season, and the seventh scored by Houston.
There was a carryover effect into the opening minutes of the second half as Toronto struggled to keep up. They finally began to pick things up around the 55th minute, when Quincy Amarikwa, making his first league appearance for the club, had an appeal for a penalty, but it was denied.
It was Amarikwa’s first league game since his acquisition a week ago. He was subbed off in the 63rd minute for Andrew Wiedeman.
But no matter what Toronto tried, they were unable to find a rhythm. Eventually, Davis made them pay a second time. His run down the left side cleared space in the middle, and he angled his cross back to the oncoming Ching. The forward made no mistake and slotted home his fourth goal of the season.
Toronto plays next on Wednesday against CD Aguila of El Salvador as they open play in the CONCACAF Champions League at BMO Field. Their next league game is Aug. 4 at Chicago.
Houston‘s next game will be at home to the New York Red Bulls next Friday.
Toronto FC (5-12-4) vs. Houston Dynamo (10-5-7)
July 28, 2012 BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario
HOU: Calen Carr 3 (Bobby Boswell 1, Brad Davis 9) 45
HOU: Brian Ching 4 (Brad Davis 10, Boniek Garcia 3) 86
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Warren Creavalle, Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Corey Ashe (Kofi Sarkodie 78); Boniek Garcia, Adam Moffat, Brad Davis; Calen Carr (Je-Vaughn Watson 83), Brian Ching, Macoumba Kandji (Luiz Camargo 74)
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Nathan Sturgis, Brian Ownby, Alex Dixon
Toronto FC: Milos Kocic; Doneil Henry (Jeremy Hall 83), Richard Eckersley, Logan Emory (Aaron Maund 83), Ashtone Morgan; Reggie Lambe, Terry Dunfield, Torsten Frings, Luis Silva; Quincy Amarikwa (Andrew Wiedeman 62), Ryan Johnson
Substitutes not used: Quillan Roberts, Ty Harden, Matt Stinson, Eric Avila
TOR: Doneil Henry (caution) 47
TOR: Richard Eckersley (caution) 53
Referee: Drew Fischer
Referee's Assistants: Daniel Belleau, Claudio Badea
4th Official: Sorin Stoica