In a game that lacked attacking flare, the Houston Dynamo and Toronto FC played a deserved 0-0 draw Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Houston, playing their second game this week after an 18-day layoff from MLS, and Toronto both tried to take the game in their hands but both failed to get control in a 90-minute affair that yielded just seven shots on goal.
While long stretches of the game were even, Houston finished both halves strong, putting pressure on the TFC side of the field. The visitors were able to repel the Dynamo, who failed to challenge the net for the second game in a row.
With the draw, Houston snap a two-game losing streak at home and improve to 23 points on the season. TFC remain in ninth in the East with 12 points.
The game started with a feeling out process as both teams worked to get a foothold on the game, with neither succeeding for the first 20 minutes. TFC had two dangerous moments early, both involving Robert Earnshaw. Jonathan Osorio and Luis Silva attempted to set up Earnshaw and other teammates in the first half, but the visitors failed to truly challenge Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
At the 25 minute mark Houston started to generate momentum thanks to their wide play. Fullbacks Corey Ashe and Kofi Sarkodie began to push higher up the field and both players put several dangerous balls in the box. The most common target was Will Bruin who had three chances at a header but failed to connect.
Bruin and Andrew Driver nearly turned hustle into a goal but Steven Caldwell was there to stab it off the line in the 23rd minute. Three minutes later Ashe served an endline cross up on a silver platter for the 6-foot-2 striker but his rising header was flat and over the crossbar, in what was ultimately the most dangerous chance of the game for either side.
The second half started with both teams being more physical than dangerous in the attacking third.
Houston started to turn the heat up in the 75th minute, keeping the ball in their attacking third for a majority of the final quarter-hour.
In addition to several long attempts, Bruin had a good look when second half substitute Cam Weaver found him on a re-start from near midfield but his shot was deflected and saved.
TFC nearly caught Houston on the counter when a pair of second half subs tested Hall in the 85th minute. Jeremy Brockie let a shot from distance go and the rebound was pounced on by Danny Koevermans. Both chances were handled by Hall to preserve the 0-0 score.
Houston next travel to New York on June 30 take on the Red Bulls while TFC host Real Salt Lake on June 29.
Houston Dynamo (6-5-5; 23 points) vs. Toronto FC (2-7-6; 12 points)
MLS regular season
June 22, 2013 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, TX
Attendance: 22,039 (sellout)
Houston Dynamo: Tally Hall; Kofi Sarkodie, Bobby Boswell, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe; Andrew Driver, Warren Creavalle (Omar Cummings 74), Ricardo Clark (Adam Moffat 89), Brad Davis; Giles Barnes (Cam Weaver 60), Will Bruin
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Eric Brunner, Mike Chabala, Brian Ching
Toronto FC: Joe Bendik; Ryan Richter, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Darren O’Dea; Jonathan Osorio, Jeremy Hall, Matias Laba, Bobby Convey (Darel Russell 80); Robert Earnshaw (Danny Koevermans 77), Luis Silva (Jeremy Brockie 59)
Substitutes not used: Gale Agbossoumonde, Quillan Roberts, Ashtone Morgan, Reggie Lambe
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee's Assistants: Craig Lowry, Colin Arblaster
4th Official: Matthew Foerster