Coming into Saturday’s match at Toronto, the Houston Dynamo knew that controlling possession would go a long way to success.
And it did.
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Houston were in control at BMO Field from start to finish, easing to Saturday’s 2-0 win. They dominated possession with 60 percent of the ball, outshot TFC 10-8, and pitched their fifth shutout in six matches.
The goals came from Calen Carr and Brian Ching, but the main reason for the side’s success was the play from Houston’s midfield, led by Brad Davis, whose two assists pulled him level with Dwayne De Rosario for the league lead with 10.
“I thought our movement and ball possession in midfield was the key to that today,” head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com after the win. “I don’t think the momentum swung against us heavily for any long period of time and that’s something you need to be successful on the road.”
A big reason for that control was Houston’s ability to win the second balls in midfield. With center backs Bobby Boswell and Andre Hainault winning the initial ball, Davis, Boniek García and Adam Moffat had a firm grip on the game in the middle. They collected the second ball time and again, then distributed forward and dictated the flow of the game.
Combine that with some strong hold up play from Ching, and it’s no surprise Houston pulled off their fourth win in a row.
“Bobby [Boswell] and Andre [Hainalt] did a great job of winning a lot of first balls and we needed to be there to make sure we didn’t give them anything,” Davis told MLSsoccer.com after the match. “We knew that was going to be part of their game plan and that we needed to disrupt that. I think we did a good job of that. Were able to play out of pressure, move the ball and get opportunities and today we were able to take advantage of them.”
The win is Houston’s first on the road since beating San Jose on March 17 and their first win in 20 tries outside the United States. However, the most promising aspect of Saturday’s win is the fashion in which it was carried out.
“It’s fun to be a part of and to be on the field when a team knocks the ball as well as we have,” Ching said. “When you look at the last three of four games we’ve had control of the game and I think we’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.