In a match marred by 12 cards and 35 fouls, the Houston Dynamo pulled out an entertaining 1-0 win over Mexican club Puebla Wednesday night, winning SuperLiga Group A in the process and earning a home game for the semifinals in the first week of August. Houston will host Monarcas Morelia, while the New England Revolution will host Puebla.
The Dynamo are back in action on the road on Saturday, facing the Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Crew at Crew Stadium at 6:30 p.m. CT.
On Wednesday night, a physical game came to life in the 64th minute, when Corey Ashe served in a free kick from the left, and Cam Weaver headed the ball downward. Forward Dominic Oduro reacted first and knocked the ball into an empty net to give the Dynamo the lead. It was Oduro’s team-high fourth goal of the year in all competitions.
The match turned ugly down the stretch, as two players from each team were ejected in three separate incidents, two of which took time to sort out. In the end, 12 cards were issues – eight yellow and four red – seven to Houston and five to Puebla. The match fell short of the record for total red cards in a Dynamo match: five, set in last year's CONCACAF Champions League on the road against Arabe Unido.
Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall made his third consecutive start and earned the shutout. He made a key deflection at the end of the first half, with an open man arriving at the back post, and made a huge save on Edgar Lugo in stoppage time to preserve the 1-0 lead. The win was Hall’s fourth of the year, surpassing his total of three from 2009.
For the Dynamo, three players will now be suspended for the semifinal match against Monarcas Morelia on a date to be announced August 3-5: Danny Cruz (yellow card accumulation, red card), Dominic Oduro (red card), and Joseph Ngwenya (yellow card accumulation), each for the semifinal only. Puebla will also miss three players for its semifinal against the New England Revolution: Melvin Brown (red card), Alvaro Gonzalez (red card), and Yasser Corona (yellow card accumulation).
Dynamo midfielder Anthony Obodai made his first competitive appearance for the club and played 90 minutes in midfield. Midfielder Corey Ashe made his 120th appearance for the Dynamo in all competitions. Defender Ryan Cochrane made his 75th career start for the Dynamo in all competitions.
Game: Saturday, July 24, 6:30 p.m., Dynamo at Columbus Crew, Crew Stadium,
Next MLS Home Game: Saturday, July 31, 7:30 p.m., Dynamo vs. New York Red Bulls, Robertson Stadium