The Houston Dynamo dropped a 2-0 decision against the San Jose Earthquakes tonight at Avaya Stadium.
After a chippy first quarter-hour that featured several hard fouls on both sides, San Jose opened the scoring in the 22nd minute off of a quick restart. Midfielder Magnus Eriksson took a short pass from Midfielder Cristian Espinoza and slid a pass toward the near post where midfielder Vako Qazaishvili slipped away from his marker. Vako got a deft left-footed flick on the cross that lifted the ball up and into the back of the net.
The Quakes doubled their lead in the 75th minute, once again through Vako. This time the midfielder found himself on the end of a cross from defender Tommy Thompson. Thompson’s initial ball was deflected, but fell to Vako. The Georgia international eluded one defender before placing a right-footed shot inside the left post.
Houston’s first scoring threat came through an unusual combination, when right back A.J. DeLaGarza found himself with the ball at his feet at the top of the Quakes penalty area on the left side of the field. A diagonal run pulled DeLaGarza into the middle of the field where he played a ball into the feet of midfielder Tomás Martínez, who played it back to the defender for a left-footed shot on goal.
Houston created its first chance of the second half through a couple of skillful touches by forward Mauro Manotas, who came on at intermission, in the 54th minute. As he received a high bouncing pass near the top of the penalty area, Manotas flicked the ball over a defender and then quickly laid it off to midfielder Tommy McNamara. McNamara’s centering pass to the penalty spot found Martínez, but the Argentine put his shot over the crossbar.
Two minutes later, San Jose nearly douled their lead off of a corner kick. As his teammates crashed the box, Espinoza hung back at the top of the penalty area and smashed a one-touch volley just over the bar. Eriksson nearly hit the net in the 58th with a left-footed shot from the top of the area that slid just wide of the far post.
Goalkeeper Joe Willis came up big in the 62nd minute to deny another San Jose scoring chance. As Willis slid across his goal from left to right tracking a high cross, San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski headed the ball back across goal. Willis reacted quickly, diving back against his momentum to get his left hand on the shot and parry it wide. Willis made another big save in the 64th, cleanly catching a shot from Espinoza at close range.
Houston nearly found the equalizer in the 72nd minute when forward Romell Quioto, playing for his club less than 24 hours after playing for his country in the Gold Cup, drove down the left flank and whipped a ball across the face of goal. The low cross fizzed past everyone, including sliding attempts by Manotas and midfielder Matías Vera, each of whom missed it by mere inches.
Willis denied Vako a hat trick in the 79th minute after the goalkeeper got his left foot on Vako’s shot to the far post. The Houston shot stopper was called into action again six minutes later to save a free kick from Eriksson at the right post, his fourth save of the game.
Houston’s final opportunity to snap the three-game scoreless streak came in stoppage time when the Dynamo won the ball off a defensive giveaway, but Manotas was not able to capitalize.
The Dynamo will wrap up their three-game road trip on Saturday night at the New England Revolution (6:30 p.m. CDT | KUBE 57 | TeleXitos). By the time the team returns home, they will have been gone for 11 days and 10 nights, flown more than 6,600 air miles, been in five states and three time zones, and played three matches in eight days.