The Dynamo’s opportunity to win two consecutive games for the first time this season ended in approximately two minutes on Saturday night, as the Colorado Rapids jumped out early and, enjoying a man advantage for 80 minutes, dismantled Houston 3-0.
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Houston opened the game in disastrous fashion, with the team ceding a goal in the game’s opening two minutes, losing a player to red card by the 10th minute, and giving up two more goals by the game's 23rd minute. As a result, the night was over before it really ever began for Houston.
"I think when you give up a goal and have a sending-off in the first seven minutes and then another goal comes right after, you have definitely put yourself in a hole,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said.
Lovel Palmer’s red card in the 10th minute came with some controversy. Palmer and Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni went for a 50-50 ball and Mastroeni clearly got to the ball first. The Rapids captain took offense to the hard challenge including one arm of Palmer’s connecting with his face. As both tumbled to the ground, Mastroeni kicked at Palmer, and the Jamaican international retaliated, with Mastroeni receiving yellow and Palmer seeing red.
"I think the referees got it wrong,” Kinnear said. “I think in that exchange, two men needed to be shown red cards."
After falling down three goals, Kinnear brought on Eddie Robinson and Mike Chabala and both seemed to play like players determined to try to earn their places back in the starting lineup. Along with Brian Mullan and second-half substitute Cam Weaver, the team’s energy and fight probably deserved at least one goal, but it was not to be.
"We were still pushing forward and not going to sit back and say the game was over,” noted Kinnear. “It's tough being down 0-3 with 10 men, but I told them I need to see legs moving and everyone caring, and I think I saw that."
While Houston’s playoff chances may have taken a punishing blow, the pride shown by the team in battling through the second half was admirable.
“I told the guys at halftime we are playing for personal pride and respect for your teammates and your coaching staff, and they showed that in the second half," said the Dynamo manager.
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.