MLS: Holden, Ching tally as Dynano blank Revolution
FOXBORO, Mass. -- Old rivals came together at Gillette stadium in Foxboro on Saturday when the New England Revolution hosted the Houston Dynamo.
The Revs were still without the services of Taylor Twellman and Steve Ralston, but did have some good news from the start as veteran 'keeper Matt Reis was back in the net for the first time in four matches.
Houston would have to face the match without the services of Eddie Robinson, who is out long term, and Danny Cruz, but otherwise had a full squad.
The match started as most would have expected. New England, playing with rookie Michael Videira as the attacking midfielder in its five-man set, struggled to find a telling ball in the early going of the match. The Houston midfield did better with Brad Davis, Brian Mullan, and Stuart Holden combining well, but both sides failed to produce any real chances on goal in the first 15 minutes.
In the 18th, Houston had the first good look at goal of the match. Mullan did well to beat two Revolution defenders and slide a nice ball to Kei Kamara at the top of the six yard box. Kamara kept his shot low and put it on frame, but Reis was in the right spot to keep the score level.
The Revs nearly opened the scoring in the 20th when defender Jay Heaps floated a free kick toward the waiting head of Shalrie Joseph, who seemed to be unmarked at the back post. Unfortunately for the home side, Kamara was back defending and did extremely well to head the ball out of danger.
The breakthrough came for Houston in the 22nd minute on a goal Reis would like to have back. Holden broke down the right channel and found him self in plenty of space to set for a shot from distance. The low liner from 25 yards out skipped across the slick surface and directly under Reis, who was in the right position, but couldn't keep the ball out of his net.
Ten minutes later it looked like Houston would add to their lead as Davis was sent in clear by Kamara, but the winger couldn't keep his left footed drive down and the ball sailed harmlessly into the crowd.
New England failed to create any good looks at goal in the run of play, but managed one more half-chance at the death of the first half from a free kick. The ball was again intended for Joseph who had slipped his mark, but the big midfielder could not get up quite high enough to get his head on the ball and it skirted harmlessly wide of the post.
The second half opened with New England still trying to find its footing in the match. As the Revs worked for an equalizer with very little success, Houston looked for a second goal that would effectively put the game out of reach.
The goal would come for Houston in the 58th from Brian Ching. The veteran striker started by beating a defender and having a go at Reis from a tough angle. The New England 'keeper made the save, but could only push the ball wide for a corner. On the corner, the big striker again found himself in a good spot, but this time there was nothing Reis could do. Ching fired home the header and the Dynamo had a lead that would be good enough for the three points.
Three minutes late Kamara had a golden opportunity to give Houston a 3-0 lead when he was played in on goal by Ching. The striker put his shot on goal and forced Reis to go full extension and atone for his earlier mistake.
New England's only real chance of the game fell to a debutant. Rookie forward Stephane Assengue, minutes after stepping onto an MLS pitch for the first time, had a cross fall to him just inside the 18 after taking a couple of deflections. The 18-year-old did well to get his shot off with the defense closing quickly, but couldn't hit the target.
The game wound down with neither team inspiring much hope for more goals over the final 20 minutes. Ricardo Clark had one good strike after a cleared corner fell to the Dynamo midfielder on top of the box, but Clark's hit went wide of the post, and the match would end 2-0 to the visitors.