TUCSON, Arizona – Erick Torres scored an equalizing goal midway through the second half, but the New England Revolution answered soon after for a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo in the Desert Diamond Cup Wednesday at Kino Sports Complex.
The meeting served as a preview of the regular-season opener between the same clubs, set for Sunday, March 6 at BBVA Compass Stadium (TICKETS).
Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle deployed a different lineup in each half, with Mauro Manotas the starting striker and Cristian Maidana underneath as the playmaker in the first half. Will Bruin and Torres partnered up front in the second half.
Trailing 1-0 in the 67th minute, Torres forced a turnover from the New England backline and the ball spilled into the path of Bruin. The forward partners surged forward, and Bruin unselfishly played a well-timed square pass to Torres, who finished past Revolution goalkeeper Brad Knighton from eight yards for the tying goal.
It was Torres’ second goal and Bruin’s second assist of the preseason.
Teal Bunbury had given New England a 1-0 lead three minutes after halftime, beating Houston’s high defensive line before chipping past goalkeeper Joe Willis, who got a touch to Bunbury’s shot but could not keep it out.
After Torres' goal, the Revolution rallied within two minutes. Bunbury beat Houston’s offside line at the center circle once again and raced toward goal before slipping a pass to Steve Neumann for a simple finish from ten yards for a 2-1 lead.
The Dynamo outplayed New England in the first half, gaining a decisive advantage in corner kicks. Houston enjoyed a strong push during the second 15 minutes of the half, beginning with a corner kick from Maidana that was headed wide by David Horst.
Later, Leonel Miranda cut inside from the right and set up a good chance for Boniek Garcia, but the Honduran skied his chance past the crossbar.
Houston threatened from another corner kick in the 29th minute. Maidana’s delivery was met by Jalil Anibaba’s diving header, but Jose Goncalves produced a vital block.
Two minutes later, Garcia won the ball in midfield and surged forward before crossing to Miranda, who missed wide with a volley from 12 yards.
Soon after, Willis denied Diego Fagundez, using a foot save to seal the near post. Then, Willis came off his line well to cut Charlie Davies’ angle at the end line.
Coyle made ten changes at halftime, with Willis the only holdover from the starting lineup.
The Dynamo came out on the front foot after the break, with Bruin setting up David Rocha at the top of the box, but the Spaniard fired past the upper corner inside the first minute.
The Dynamo followed with another quality buildup moments later. Zach Steinberger escaped pressure on the left sideline and passed to Rocha, who found DaMarcus Beasley on the left side of the box, but he sliced wide of the near post from 15 yards.
Trailing 2-1, the Dynamo fought for another equalizing goal. Bruin harassed Knighton and Darrius Barnes into a turnover inside the box, winning the ball and passing to Torres at the top of the area. Rather than shoot from 15 yards, Torres elected to pass to Wenger, and his shot was blocked, ending Houston’s chance.
Barnes tried to tie it up for the Dynamo soon after, but missed wide of goal with a 25-yard half-volley.
One of Houston’s final chances came from a free kick near the corner with five minutes left. Rocha delivered a dangerous cross, but New England cleared the danger.
Next up, the Dynamo will face Sporting Kansas City at 5:30 p.m. CT on Saturday in Tucson for their final preseason game. The Dynamo open the 2016 season against the Revolution at 1:45 p.m. CT on March 6 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Houston Dynamo vs. New England Revolution
February 24, 2016 – Kino Sports Complex – Tucson, Arizona
NE: Teal Bunbury (Donnie Smith) 48
HOU: Erick Torres 2 (Will Bruin 2) 67
NE: Steve Neumann (Teal Bunbury) 69
Houston Dynamo first half – Joe Willis; Jalil Anibaba, David Horst, Raul Rodríguez, Abdoulie Mansally; Leonel Miranda, Ricardo Clark, Alex Lima, Boniek García; Cristian Maidana; Mauro Manotas
Houston Dynamo second half – Joe Willis; Bradley Bourgeois, Sebastien Ibeagha, Agus Garcia, DaMarcus Beasley; Andrew Wenger, David Rocha, Zach Steinberger, Giles Barnes; Erick Torres, Will Bruin
HOU – Agus Garcia (caution) 61
NE – Zachary Herivaux (caution) 73
HOU – David Rocha (caution) 82
NE – Michael Gamble (caution) 87