Dwayne De Rosario scored two set piece goals to help defeat his former club and give interim TFC coach Nick Dasovic his first win.
In a second homecoming, Dwayne De Rosario scored two absolutely stunning goals to keep Toronto FC's thin playoff hopes alive. Both came off set pieces and were very much needed for a Toronto side that looked hopeless to create anything from open play. For Houston, this result simply piled on the misery and was symbolic of their entire season thus far.
Houston started the match guns blazing, unleashing a relentless assault on the Toronto goal in the beginning part of the second half. Joseph Ngwenya had Houston's first opportunity in just the second minute when he was gifted a free header in the box, but he missed wide right when he almost certainly should have hit the target.
Just two minutes later, Danny Cruz had a great run down the right flank, culminating in a cross into the center of the box towards a flurry of orange shirts. A long scramble for the ball ensued in which Ngwenya had a penalty shout, but now foul was given and Toronto cleared the ball away.
In the 13th minute, Chad Barrett of Toronto played a spectacular through ball to his strike partner Maicon Santos who squandered the opportunity with a poor first touch that went straight into the arms of Pat Onstad. It was the first of many mistakes by Santos, the result of which was his eventual substitution in the 77th minute.
A minute later, the Dynamo were back on the attack. Brad Davis laid off a good ball to Geoff Cameron, who was selected in the center of midfield for this game. Cameron hit a good shot, but his effort was saved by Stefan Frei.
Houston would open the game's scoring in the 18th minute. Davis took a set piece from about 40 yards from the goal on the right side of the field and laid the ball right on to the head of Brian Ching, who coolly finished with his head to put the Dynamo up 1-0.
After the Dynamo goal, the game slowed down considerably. For the remainder of the half, Toronto FC showed minimal effort and ambition, creating no more chances before halftime.
In the 28th minute, Cameron had a good opportunity off a Davis corner, but his header that bounced off the ground was easily saved by Frei.
The last chance of the half came in the 38th minute when Cruz cut inside from his right wing position and fired a shot from 20 yards, but Frei saved comfortably once again.
The attitude of the end of the first half carried over into the beginning of the second half, with neither team creating much of anything in the first few minutes. Starting in the 58th minute, Toronto changed that with two fantastic set piece opportunities.
Dwayne De Rosario delivered a fantastic ball into Chad Barrett, but Barrett missed his opportunity, sending his header over the crossbar.
Two minutes later, in the 60th minute, Toronto got their equalizer. A questionable foul call gave De Rosario another free kick opportunity just outside of the box and he didn't make the mistake of leaving the finishing up to someone else. De Rosario blasted his shot past Pat Onstad, getting TFC back into the game and evening up the score at one.
In the 70th minute, substitute Dominic Oduro sent a cross from the left into Geoff Cameron, but his header sailed wide of the target. Cameron proved to be a lively, hard working, and intelligent player throughout the match, but his finishing left something to be desired.
The 80th minute saw the Dynamo's best opportunity to take back the lead. Brad Davis swung in a great cross to the back post that found an unmarked Corey Ashe. Ashe's first touch let him down just as badly as Maicon Santos' in the first half for TFC and Frei scooped up the ball easily.
In the 87th minute, Davis had another free kick opportunity, but he elected to shoot instead of cross from 30 yards out. His effort was on target, but not powerful enough to really challenge Frei as the Toronto keeper held the ball easily.
In the 92nd minute, Toronto had an opportunity reminiscent of Ashe's five minutes earlier. Dan Gargan swung a cross into the box from the right wing, finding the head of a completely unmarked O'Brien White.
Inexplicably, despite no challenge, White failed to come anywhere close to hitting the target with his header.
Ultimately, White's miss would be irrelevant. Just one minute later, De Rosario surged forward, all alone by himself in the attack. His quality first touch on a long ball combined with a mis-communication between Eddie Robinson and Bobby Boswell allowed De Rosario to get through on goal. Robinson was forced to foul him to prevent an opportunity and was questionably only shown a yellow card despite being the last man. De Rosario stepped up to take the free kick from almost the exact position of his first goal and he hit almost the exact same shot, blazing the ball past Onstad to give Toronto the 2-1 win at the death.
The loss will be a bitter pill to swallow for a Houston Dynamo side that was completely dominant. Toronto showed little ambition and fight for most of the match, but their captain Dwayne De Rosario bailed them out like he has so many times in previous games this season.
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