The Houston Dynamo’s playoff aspirations are still alive, and it’s all because they did what they do best on Sunday.
On a warmer day than expected under the Texas sun, Houston put their crossing and finishing acumen on display with two goals on balls swung in from the flanks, stretching out the Fire defense and creating space to exploit in the box.
“It kind of plays into the way we like to play in the first place,” said Dynamo captain Brad Davis, who assisted on the Garcia goal in the 67th minute. “We got the ball wide in some good spots and got some good service into the box. That’s the way we’ve played and have kind of been molded to do, and it worked out for us again today.”
The club took advantage of pinpoint passes and pressuring the Fire’s full backs on both goals. Ricardo Clark, who usually patrols the center of the pitch, was the first to catch the visitors out of sorts, finding Cummings splitting two defenders at the back post.
The second was a model of what team play can do to a defense. Kofi Sarkodie hit the ball to the back post, where Davis redirected it to García at the penalty spot to give him a golden opportunity.
“First of all it was a great goal. He put himself in the right spot and it was a difficult finish, a good finish by Oscar,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said. “I didn’t really see how he celebrated but I’m sure he was smiling.
“We have good wide players and it’s kind of funny that our two wide players were in the box at the same time and combined for the goal. I thought we came out with the correct attitude and put them under pressure, and it was good to see us get rewarded with a goal.”
Getting a goal from García, his second of the year, was happy moment after the Honduran returned from a concussion that kept him out of a scoreless draw with the Philadelphia Union last week.
Davis, meanwhile, exited early Sunday after taking a blow to the head. The Dynamo captain was cleared after the game but the club took precaution in the situation.
“I really didn’t want to do any testing. I just did some testing … At this point in the year we don’t really need to lose any guys,” Davis said. “In all seriousness, I understand why it goes on. You want to be safe about it, but it’s not something they’re worried about at this point.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.