The Houston Dynamo registered their fifth straight win and leapfrogged the New York Red Bulls into first place in the Eastern Conference after handily defeating them 2-0 on Friday night at BBVA Compass Stadium in the debut of new Red Bulls designated player Tim Cahill.
Houston controlled the match from start to finish and capitalized on first-half goals from Jermaine Taylor -- the Jamaican scored after just 72 seconds -- and the red-hot Calen Carr to move two points clear of the Red Bulls ahead of a second consecutive head-to-head match-up next week in New York, where NYRB are undefeated this season.
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Taylor got Houston’s big night going in quick fashion, scoring the second fastest MLS goal from the start of a match in Dynamo history. On the first trip down the field the Dynamo earned a set piece and marksman Brad Davis delivered a ball to the back post. After some pinging around and an Andre Hainault shot, Taylor was in the right place at the right time to knee Houston’s opening goal on the goal line.
With the visiting Red Bulls reeling, Houston increased their attacking pressure. Davis took his chance in the 10th minute, lacing a left-footed blast to force a parry from Red Bulls goalkeeper Bill Gaudette. On the ensuing corner Taylor nearly made it a double, directing his flick into the side netting.
After Houston forward Will Bruin tried his luck with a scorcher from just outside the box, Houston’s wings struck again. The red hot pair of Carr and Macoumba Kandji, who have thrived in Houston’s 4-3-3, linked up in the 28th minute. Kandji hit a beautiful swerving ball to the back post, where Carr skied over an unknowing Roy Miller to park a header just inside the far post and give the Dynamo a 2-0 lead. It was Carr’s fourth goal in four matches.
The conditions looked to get to the Red Bulls after the goal as the half ran out with the visitors, who played a friendly last Tuesday against Tottenham, limping into the half with just two shots and one on goal.
Cahill started the match and went a full 90 minutes, but the Australian struggled together with the rest of his teammates on a night where there was little chemistry, energy or effective attacks coming from the visitors.
In the second half New York came out with an improved vigor; holding the ball and putting the Dynamo under pressure in the first 10 minutes. But after the initial burst, the Dynamo settled in and Houston returned to pushing numbers forward and exploiting their speed advantage on the flanks to put Gaudette under constant pressure to see out the win.
For New York, second half sub Kenny Cooper, Sebastien Le Toux and Thierry Henry all had chances to pull one back after the break, but none of their efforts troubled Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, who finished with just two saves on the night.
Houston’s victory pushes the Dynamo (11-5-7) to 40 points and allowed them to extend their current unbeaten streak to eight matches. New York stays on 38 points and have now lost two in a row.
Houston Dynamo (11-5-7) vs. New York Red Bulls (11-7-5)
August 3, 2012 Houston, Texas
Attendance: 22,039 (sellout)
HOU: Jermaine Taylor 1 (unassisted) 2
HOU: Calen Carr 4 (Macoumba Kandji 2) 28
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe; Boniek Garcia, Adam Moffat, Brad Davis; Calen Carr (Je-Vaughn Watson 74), Will Bruin (Brian Ching 56), Macoumba Kandji (Luiz Camargo 81)
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Nathan Sturgis, Warren Creavalle, Alex Dixon
New York Red Bulls: Bill Gaudette; Heath Pearce, Wilman Conde (Joel Lindpere 70), Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller; Sebastien Le Toux, Jan Gunnar Solli (Kenny Cooper 55), Teemu Tainio (Victor Palsson 45), Tim Cahill, Connor Lade; Thierry Henry
Substitutes not used: Jeremy Vuolo, Jonathan Borrajo, Stephen Keel
NY: Heath Pearce (caution) 46
NY: Victor Palsson (caution) 90
Referee: Silviu Petrescu
Referee's Assistants: Jeff Muschik, Brian Poeschel
4th Official: Kevin Terry Jr.