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Carr's brace a needed tonic for Houston, who craved spark

It didn't take long for Calen Carr to reacquaint himself to the Houston Dynamo starting XI.

The versatile Carr was the star of the night on Wednesday, notching his first career MLS brace and, in the process, sending the crowd of 19,761 home happy with a big 2-1 win against the East’s top team in Sporting Kansas City. It was a big night for a player a week removed from a month-long hamstring injury and who featured for the first time since June 16.

HIGHLIGHTS: Houston 2, Sporting KC 1

“Especially coming off an injury, to come back into the team I was extra motivated and was tired of watching,” Carr said with a smile. “I wanted to repay the faith the coaches had in me to put me in and give me an opportunity.

“It was a great feeling because, most importantly, we’re trying to build some momentum here as the season goes on,” the speedster said. “I think we’ve been on a good run of form and I think we can continue that.”

OPTA Chalkboard: Carr stays busy in return to XI

Carr pushed that momentum on with play indicative of his work ethic. Both of his goals were the product of the hustle the hardworking and, as head coach Dominic Kinnear described him, intelligent winger puts in.

In a system that is has benefited from strong runs from the wing, Carr consistently put himself in good positions. On the first goal, he was there for a Will Bruin feed inside the six-yard box and the second was there to get any part of his body on it he could when Houston were working to break down a compact 10-man SKC club.

“They don’t give you much,” Kinnear said. “They make you play it wide and keep it tight and, when you cross the ball into the box, they have good guys attacking the box. [Carr’s] an intelligent player who makes good runs off the ball and I think you saw on both goals, he saw the space he was given and attacked it pretty well.”

Carr’s midweek performance was no doubt a good one for the Dynamo. Not only because Houston extended their unbeaten streak to five and continued to move up the standings, but also because it marks the return of another weapon to their attack and a player who showed he can come up big.

“Tonight, we needed someone to step up,” defender Bobby Boswell said. “Dom said at halftime, ‘Who’s gonna step up?’ and tonight it was Calen. He’s a good player and he makes great runs and he’s a good guy, too. He works hard and, when he’s out there, he’s dangerous. We’re glad to have him back because he’s another weapon in our arsenal.”

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.