September 29, 2012
Revs falter late, lose 2-0 to Houston
HOUSTON--On a rainy Saturday night, the Houston Dynamo continued their dominance at BBVA Compass Stadium, defeating the New England Revolution 2-0 behind second half goals from Ricardo Clark and Oscar Boniek Garcia.
|Benny Feilhaber orchestrated two of New Englandís best scoring chances against Houston with a pair of first-half free kicks.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The win allowed Houston (13-8-10, 49 points) to maintain their hold on a fifth-place playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and extended their home unbeaten streak to 23 games.
Clark scored the game-winner in the 77th minute, off Brad Davisís 12th assist, while Honduran international Garcia added the clincher in stoppage time. It was Calrk's first goal of the season. after sitting out with a torn ACL until August 10.
The Revolution defense was able to frustrate the Dynamo attack through the scoreless and evenly matched first half.
Houston looked to find Davis down the left flank, but versatile defender Darrius Barnes, making his first start at right back, was able to prevent the 2011 MLS assist leader from delivering any damage, and Davis eventually moved to a more central position.
The Revolution (7-16-8, 29 points) came close on a couple of set piece opportunities as dual target strikers Jerry Bengtson and Dimitry Imbongo exerted pressure on the counterattack.
After Bengtson drew a foul in the 18th minute, Benny Feilhaber bent a 25-yard free kick on goal, forcing a one-handed leaping punch from Dynamo Ďkeeper Tally Hall.
Later in the half, Feilhaber sent a free kick into the box that Stephen McCarthy headed just over the crossbar as Hall was late to the ball.
Juan Toja replaced Clyde Simms in the New England midfield after intermission, marking the Columbianís earliest appearance since joining the Revolution.
The rain increased in intensity in the second half and so did the physical play on the sodden turf.
Just before the hour mark, Bengtson squandered an open header at the top of the six-yard box, steering a spot-on Fernando Cardenas cross from the corner a few feet wide of the far post.
In the 73rd minute, Revolution netminder Bobby Shuttleworth kept the game level momentarily, diving low to his left to deny Will Bruin after the Dynamoís leading scorer cut in from the left for an open attempt off a Houston counterattack.
But Shuttleworth was unable to stop Clark a few minutes later.
Second-half substitute Brian Ching started the combination by slipping a pass to Davis as the pass maestro entered the box on the right.
Davis, using his weaker right foot, found Clark making a hard run to the near post between central defenders McCarthy and A.J. Soares, and the former US international, back in Houston after a stint with Eintracht Frankfurt, was able to put a toe on the cross and send it past Shuttleworth for the deciding score.
The Revolution goalkeeper made a pair of sparkling saves on efforts by Cam Weaver and Davis to keep the visitors close, but New England was unable to produce a response in the closing minutes.
With the Revolution stretched, Garcia put the game out of reach with a powerful volley off a Warren Creavalle cross.
Faced with injuries and absences, Jay Heaps made several changes to the Revolution lineup. With Lee Nguyen out for the season after shoulder surgery Monday and Ryan Guy on international duty for Guam, Feilhaber and Cardenas returned to the starting midfield. Imbongo joined Bengtson up top, while Shuttleworth made his second consecutive start between the sticks.
The Revolution continue on the road, where theyíve won only once all year, taking on the Union in Philadelphia next Saturday before returning home to face Chicago on October 20th.