For the next seven business days, HoustonDynamo.com will continue to count down the ten best Dynamo games of 2012. With so many great games to choose from, it was difficult to settle on ten, and tougher still to decide how to rank them. We will unveil one game per day, with a look back at what made the game special and include game highlights. Here is #8:
Dynamo 2 : 1 FC Dallas
June 16, 2012 - BBVA Compass Stadium
When Major League Soccer announced a shift to an unbalanced schedule for 2012, with teams from opposite conferences playing each other just once per season, many fans of the Dynamo and FC Dallas lamented the change would reduce the Texas Derby to a single meeting. With no rivalry game in Frisco, it meant the June 16 meeting between the in-state rivals at BBVA Compass Stadium would decide the caretaker of El Capitan.
FC Dallas limped into the rivalry game with Houston on an nine-game winless streak. The injury-riddled club was missing midfielders David Ferreira and Brek Shea and defenders Ugo Ihemelu and George John, among others, for the lone edition of the Texas Derby.
The game had all of the expected buildup - a national TV audience on ESPN and the fifth consecutive sellout to open the new stadium. In addition, the FC Dallas front office staged a spirited campaign to bring back El Capital to Frisco.
Houston snatched an early lead in the third minute. Brian Ching hustled to corral a second ball on the left flank in Dallas territory and played a short pass to Will Bruin, who played the ball wide to Calen Carr just before two defenders closed him down.
Carr played a first-touch pass back to Bruin, who charged toward goal as his touch bounced off Dallas defender Hernan Pertuz back into his own path, off his shin and into the net for a 1-0 lead. The early goal also delivered the first “Dancing Bear” goal celebration at BBVA Compass Stadium as the second-year striker had his first home goal of the season.
It was Bruin’s sixth goal of the campaign as the former Indiana striker eclipsed his 2011 goal total of five. Most fans probably didn’t expect Bruin to finish the season with a franchise-record 16 goals (playoffs included), but this goal was a display of his tremendous grit and work rate in the attacking third of the field.
FC Dallas nearly found its equalizer 13 minutes later. Forward Scott Sealy crept in alone inside the box and hit a bouncing shot that struck the far post.
The rest of the first half was marked by outstanding wide play from FC Dallas wingers Fabian Castillo and Jackson.
Castillo nearly scored in the 32nd minute after a simple one-two at midfield allowed him to use his speed to streak in behind the Houston defense. Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall kept his club in front, however, as Castillo broke free on the left side of the box and struck a low shot that Hall saved with a great block to his left.
Two minutes before halftime, Houston nearly extended its lead. Ching found Watson surging forward into Dallas territory and Watson played a ball to Bruin on his left. Bruin’s shot from 15 yards had Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman beat, but struck the near post and bounced out.
FC Dallas equalized the Texas Derby in the 59th minute. Daniel Hernandez found Jackson with space 40 yards from goal. The Brazilian beat three Dynamo defenders before playing a short pass to Sealy at the top of the penalty area. Sealy’s shot was blocked by Taylor, but the rebound fell in the path of Jackson, who smashed it home for the tying goal.
The game-changing moment arrived just four minutes later. FC Dallas defender Jair Benitez, who has a reputation for hostilities in the Texas Derby, received a red card after he elbowed Houston midfielder Colin Clark in the face as he ran toward the middle of the field. The elbow came far from the action, about forty yards from the ball, and in plain view of assistant referee George Gansner.
Reduced to ten men in the 85-degree June heat of Houston, FC Dallas fought to keep the score level.
In the 66th minute, Brad Davis, Bruin and Corey Ashe worked a nice sequence that left Ashe alone on the right side of the box. Ashe squared the ball to Ching eight yards in front of goal, and his shot was blocked by Hartman. The rebound fell to Bruin, who quickly fired a shot above Hartman, who stretched from the ground to make another great save.
Houston finally found the game-winner in the 76th minute. Davis curled in a corner kick and Hartman could only punch away a half-clearance as far as Adam Moffat, who settled the ball 12 yards from goal. With 14 bodies between him and the goal line, Moffat cracked a vintage “Moffat Rocket” through the sea of players and into the upper corner for a 2-1 lead.
Just moments later, Dallas nearly equalized once again. A long throw-in was flicked on by Sealy, but Moffat was standing near the far post to clear the shot off the line and end any lasting Dallas hopes of tying the game.
The Dynamo improved to 9-3-7 all-time (6-1-3 at home) in regular season meetings with FC Dallas. More importantly, it retained possession of El Capitan for the fifth time in the seven-year rivalry.
Return to HoustonDynamo.com on Thursday for Game #7 on our list of the Top 10 Dynamo games of 2012.