The San Jose Earthquakes made Dominic Kinnear’s return to Texas a successful one with a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on a steamy night at BBVA Compass Stadium.
An Adam Jahn header in the 54th minute was the only goal of the night, but it was enough to send Kinnear to a victory over the team he guided for nine seasons in their first meeting since he left the Dynamo late last season to take over in San Jose – a win also made possible by a penalty kick save by goalkeeper David Bingham.
The San Jose victory, breaking a brief two-game winless streak, sends them into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Western Conference, with all three teams sitting on 13 points from nine games. Houston’s bad fortunes continue, with two straight losses and a winless streak now at four games, keeping them in eighth place in the West on 10 points from 10 games.
The Jahn goal came on a quick free kick from the right flank by Matias Perez Garcia that caught the Houston defense napping. The service into the middle of box found Jahn unmarked for the header inside the far post.
The Dynamo nearly answered minutes later after Boniek García earned a penalty kick in the 57th minute after he weaved his through the San Jose defense before being taken down in the 6-yard box on a trip by Bingham.
Giles Barnes’ ensuing spot kick in the 58th minute was sent low to the near post, and Bingham made the diving save to his left to bat the ball outside the post and maintain the San Jose lead.
For a second straight game, the Dynamo were in control of the possession, earning seven corner kicks. But for a second straight match, Houston were unable to turn possession into goals. Houston’s defense was much better Tuesday than the last two games, in which the Dynamo allowed four goals in each contest.
The Dynamo had numerous chances, especially in the second half, with Barnes earning a short breakaway in the 52nd minute after Brad Davis split two defenders with a through ball. But the forward’s shot from 16 yards out went high.
Kinnear received a nice ovation from the fans before the game and was applauded as he left the field at halftime. The only major hiccup in an otherwise successful night for the veteran head coach occurred when he was forced to substitute midfielder Fatai Alashe in the 29th minute after he took a knee to the back from Ricardo Clark.
San Jose are back in action in four days to play their third game in eight days, Saturday at the Colorado Rapids. Houston will look to turn things around Sunday at Toronto FC.
Houston Dynamo (2-4-4; 10 points) vs. San Jose Earthquakes (4-4-1; 13 points)
MLS regular season
May 5, 2015 – BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, Texas
San Jose Earthquakes: Adam Jahn 1 (Matias Perez Garcia 1 ) 54
Houston Dynamo: Tyler Deric; Kofi Sarkodie (David Horst 83), Jermaine Taylor, Raúl Rodríguez, DaMarcus Beasley; Boniek García (Rob Lovejoy 74), Ricardo Clark, Luis Garrido, Brad Davis ©, Alexander López (Will Bruin 65); Giles Barnes
Substitutes Not Used: Joe Willis, Leonel Miranda, Chandler Hoffman, Zach Steinberger
San Jose Earthquakes: David Bingham; Marvell Wynne, Victor Bernardez, Clarence Goodson, Jordan Stewart; Chris Wondolowski, Fatai Alashe (J.J. Koval 29), Matias Perez Garcia; Sanna Nyassi, Adam Jahn, Shea Salinas
Substitutes Not Used: Bryan Meredith, Paul Renato, Leandro Barrera, Michael Fucito
HOU: Ricardo Clark (caution) 26
SJ: Jordan Stewart (caution) 75
HOU: Kofi Sarkodie (caution) 79
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Assistant Referees: Charles Morgante, Mark Cahen
Fourth Official: Ismail Elfath