A late goal from Ugo Ihemelu sent Dallas past the Dynamo.
After failing to defeat the Houston Dynamo in their first nine attempts at Robertson Stadium, FC Dallas broke thru on Wednesday night thanks to a timely goal from defender Ugo Ihemelu after Dallas had gone down a man.
Jair Benitez was shown a red card after making contact with Luis Angel Landin’s head in the 72nd minute. Just six minutes later, Dallas capitalized off a free kick just outside the Houston box as Break Shea sent the ball back across the face of the Dynamo goal and found Ihemelu in position in front of Landin.
Dallas controlled the midfield play all night and when Houston needed a goal the most, they were unable to make the passes they needed to threaten the Dallas defense. It was a disappointing showing from the Dynamo after their strong performance on the weekend against Kansas City.
Houston had two good early chances, first in the sixth minute when Landin got loose behind the defense and forced Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman to come off his line and clean up the ball. Four minutes later Oduro got free in the box and forced a save from Hartman. The preceding corner found the head of Dynamo defender Andrew Hainault who headed the ball just wide of the far post.
FC Dallas’ first good chance of the half came in the 18th minute when Atiba Harris let loose a shot from 40-yards out that caught Pat Onstad off guard. Onstad was able to direct the ball out for a corner which Dallas failed to generate an opportunity from.
The match began to get physical in the 26th minute when Dallas’ Jair Benitez clipped Dominic Oduro from behind after Oduro had released the ball. After a mid-air collision, Houston defender Eddie Robinson left the match with a sprained right knee in the 37th minute. Robinson came down hard on his right leg, causing his knee to buckle. Ryan Cochrane replaced the veteran defender whose history of knee injuries will cause the Dynamo some concern.
FC Dallas tried to test Cochrane quickly upon his entry to game but were unable to generate a good chance on goal. The first yellow card of the match was awarded to FCD’s Daniel Hernandez who came in late on Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis in the 45th minute.
FC Dallas controlled play out of the locker room but was unable to generate any shots on goal early in the half. The pace of the match picked up as both teams went back and forth in the midfield.
The Dynamo got their best chance of the night in the 62nd minute. Dominic Oduro intercepted Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu’s pass and connected with Landin in the box who crossed to Brad Davis. The play brought Dallas goalkeeper Kevin Hartman out of position but Davis’ attempt at the open goal was thwarted by a great play from defender Heath Pearce.
For the second straight match Houston was given a man advantage as referee Jorge Gonzalez showed Jair Benitez a red card after he swung out with his left arm and connected with the side of Luis Angel Landin’s head.
The advantage wouldn’t help the Dynamo. Just minutes later after a foul by Mike Chabala gave Dallas a free kick just outside the box, Dax McCarty found Brek Shea at the far post. Shea chipped the ball across the face of the goal and Ugo Ihemelu was able to head the ball past Pat Onstad. Ihemelu was in the position on the line thanks to a lackluster defensive effort from Landin.
Houston’s last good chance came in the 87th minute when Danny Cruz broke free on the left, got Hartman to commit and found Davis free in the box. Dallas captain Daniel Hernandez make a goal saving tackle from behind that prevented a shot from Davis and pushed the ball to Hartman who covered up.
Despite the man advantage, Houston was unable to equalize as FC Dallas earned their first victory of the 2010 MLS season.
There are Twitter feeds and then there is Goal.com contributor Zach
Woosley's Twitter feed; follow him @GTTF