There were times in the Houston Dynamo’s 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew on Wednesday where the home side's goal was under siege.
That’s where goalkeeper Tally Hall stepped up, as he’s done time and time again.
Against a dangerous Columbus team that outshot Houston 18-11 and knows how to move the ball around and create pressure, Hall saw spaces open up in front of his goal and proved to be the man on the spot, making several strong saves to secure a hard-earned clean sheet.
“He’s probably the most reliable ‘keeper I’ve been with,” left winger Andrew Driver said. “He’s extremely good and is a big presence. He’s like that every game, and obviously the defense was good, but when we need it he’s always going to be there.”
Hall came up with six saves in all, several of the spectacular variety.
In the 30th minute he came up with a double save to deny two close-quarter chances for the Crew. In the second half he made a leaping stop to deny left back Waylon Francis. With those highlight-reel saves, Hall put his defense on his back at times when they needed it most.
“He’s a good shot stopper, we all know that, we’ve seen it over the years,” said Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear after the game. “I think [goalkeepers coach Tim Hanley] does a good job with telling him to not beat himself and to remain big.
“He doesn’t make those mistakes and he makes himself look big, and obviously he has some quick hands. And he made some great saves tonight.”
The Dynamo defense played well for large portions of the night, but that dangerous space showed up at inopportune moments.
However, credit should also be given to a Columbus squad that knows how to test a defense.
“The way they play’s funny. Their right back [Josh Williams], obviously me playing directly against him, I was playing left back most of the day,” said Driver. “He just goes up at right wing and it opens up the play massively. We did well to keep our shape and let them play in front of us, which was massive.”
Noted Hall: “You try to step one guy in and he’s out, and another guy’s in behind them. I thought defensively, against a very difficult team, we did an amazing job staying organized and closing down spaces.”
While there was too much space at times, Hall and the Dynamo shut things down in time and the result was a fourth shutout for the ‘keeper and his defense.
“I thought [Hall] played great tonight,” said forward Will Bruin, who netted the 50th-minute gamewinner. “He commanded his box extremely well, came out for crosses, gobbled up anything in and around him and made some big saves, so I thought he played great. A clean sheet is much deserved.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.