It was death by counterattack for the Houston Dynamo on Saturday night, as a 66th-minute lapse led to a Sanna Nyassi goal and the Montreal Impact’s share of the spoils in a 1-1 draw at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Marco Di Vaio, who took over the playmaking duties in the absence of the injured Felipe, played a sublime turn and through ball to Nyassi, who was persistent cleaning up his own rebound to stun the home crowd and erase an early Houston lead off the foot of Dynamo forward Will Bruin.
Houston’s Brian Ching appeared to pull out the full three points with a chip of Montreal goalkeeper Troy Perkins in the 93rd minute, but after a conference between referee Chris Penso and assistant referee Jason Cullum, Ching was ruled offside and the goal was waved off.
The draw was a missed opportunity for the Dynamo (13-8-11), who will wait and see if the Columbus Crew can post a win over Sporting Kansas City on Sunday and surpass them into the fifth postseason spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The Crew trail the Dynamo by two points heading into the match.
The draw eliminated the expansion Impact (12-15-5) from postseason contention
The game came to life when Di Vaio and Bruin traded early attempts, and then Nyassi nearly broke the ice in the 15th minute. The speedy winger found his way through the Dynamo backline, but his run was stopped when Kofi Sarkodie and Tally Hall deflected shots to keep the Impact at bay.
Minutes later Dynamo midfielder Boniek Garcia, who took the free kick duties in place of the injured Brad Davis, tried a quick dead ball to Mac Kandji, but his header was tipped over by Perkins on a solid night for the Impact goalkeeper.
Houston finally the found the touch when winger Calen Carr shook Impact defender Alessandro Nesta in the box and set Bruin up for a poke at the near post to make it 1-0 in the 44th minute. Bruin’s goal was his 12th of the season and brings him to within one of Ching’s regular season franchise record, set in 2008.
Nyassi, however, capitalized when he found a seam in the Dynamo defense, and coolly beat Hall after the Dynamo goalkeeper denied Nyassi’s first chance at the breakaway.
Second half subs Ching and Cam Weaver, however, nearly pulled the full three points out. Weaver, who added a stoppage time header, took a feed from Ching, but the woodwork turned him away in the 84th minute, and Ching’s close attempt was blocked by Matteo Ferrari on the goal line a minute later.
Both teams return to play Oct. 20 when Houston hosts the Philadelphia Union, and Montreal travels to Toronto FC.
Houston Dynamo (13-8-11) vs. Montreal Impact (12-15-5)
October 6, 2012 BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
HOU: Will Bruin 12 (Calen Carr 2, Corey Ashe 2) 44
MON: Sanna Nyassi 6 (unassisted) 66
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe; Boniek Garcia, Ricardo Clark, Adam Moffat (Warren Creavalle 89); Calen Carr, Will Bruin (Cam Weaver 72), Macoumba Kandji (Brian Ching 72)
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Andre Hainault, Giles Barnes, Colin Clark
Montreal Impact: Troy Perkins; Hassoun Camara, Alessandro Nesta (Lamar Neagle 46), Matteo Ferrari, Jeb Brovsky; Davy Arnaud, Patrice Bernier, Calum Mallace, Sanna Nyassi; Marco Di Vaio, Andrew Wenger (Justin Mapp 65)
Substitues not used: Evan Bush, Josh Gardner, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Shavar Thomas, Zarek Valentin
MTL: Sanna Nyassi (caution) 65
MTL: Matteo Ferrari (caution) 71
Referee: Chris Penso
Referee's Assistants: Jason Callum, Mark Cahen
4th Official: Jason Anno