FRISCO, Texas -- When Mike Chabala scored in the 36th minute of Houston’s season opening draw against FC Dallas, he wasn’t exactly sure what to do. The young left back isn’t used to scoring goals and when his shot found its way past FC Dallas keeper Dario Sala, he did what anyone would do -- he started running. When his teammates finally caught up to him around midfield, he had lost his chance for a dramatic celebration, but he hardly seemed to mind.
“To be honest I didn’t really know what do.” Chabala said after the match. “I didn’t really score a goal in college besides penalty kicks. I was just so excited.”
He wasn’t able to enjoy the goal for long, as two minutes later Atiba Harris found space at the top of the Dynamo box and put a low hard shot past keeper Pat Onstad.
It was a tough 90 minutes for the Dynamo defense as FC Dallas fully utilized their speed up the middle of the field to create chances.
“Dallas interchanges really well,” said Chabala, “You’ve got to be communicating, but we did well, we were defensively sound and sharp.”
For a team that prides itself on its defense, giving Atiba Harris so much space in front of Onstad was disappointing but not the end of the world. It was all about the positives after the match and building on their performance as they head back to Houston for a three match home stand. The Dynamo will look to improve their attacking game and get forward Brian Ching on track. The veteran was quiet on Saturday and one expects his form will improve with some more playing time.
Meanwhile, FC Dallas head coach Schellas Hyndman was also pleased with his team’s performance.
“It was a good game from beginning to end,” Hyndman said. “I was very very pleased with our play because we were down a goal against a very good team and it’s not that often that teams can come back and tie the game against them.”
Both teams struggled with the windy conditions with gust upwards of 25 mph throughout the match. The wind affected passing and seemed to play a part in the Dallas goal. Despite the space given to Harris, Pat Onstad saw the shot but was unable to get into position to make the save. Just how much the wind played a part is hard to say, but it was a goal they people have become accustomed to seeing Onstad stop over the past seasons.
Both teams suffered injuries to key players during the match. Houston’s Eddie Robinson left in the first half after tweaking his hamstring. He will be reevaluated this week. FC Dallas defender Kyle Davies suffered a broken arm and dislocated elbow early in the second half after a collision in the midfield. Davies walked off under his own power, holding his harm, and was taken straight to the locker room. Early reports suggest the defender could miss eight weeks of play.
As for Mike Chabala it will be a moment he will remember forever. His goal and solid performance was a near picture perfect start to the season for a player looking to take hold of the starting left back spot for the Dynamo.
“It’s a long season ahead but the biggest thing for me is wanting to make sure I contribute this year and play a big role,” the 25-year-old said.
If he continues to give Dominic Kinnear performances like he had on Saturday, he will certainly be playing a big role for the Dynamo.
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