HOUSTON, Texas -- The up and down season for the Houston Dynamo continued on Saturday night as a crowd of 24,471 at Robertson Stadium saw the home side easily dispatch struggling D.C. United 2-0. The performance prolonged the roller coaster pattern of results for the Dynamo, which has alternated wins and losses since their April 1 victory over Real Salt Lake.
The Dynamo scored the game's first goal early in the first half as Luis Angel Landin found Danny Cruz in space. Cruz beat Troy Perkins, banking the ball in off the goal post. It was a well earned goal for the 20-year-old who was rewarded with his first start of the season and paid back Dominic Kinnear's faith in full with the goal and his active, hustling play.
Dominic Oduro finally found the back of the net in the second half on a beautiful strike off a Landin cross. Landin sent the ball across the D.C. box and Oduro, never letting the ball touch the ground, drilled it past the diving Troy Perkins.
Houston started fast, showing an urgency and pace that was missing in their last match against Real Salt Lake. Danny Cruz, who was given his first start of the season, got in the game early after a quick throw from Luis Landin found him in space just outside the D.C. United box. Cruz cut in and forced a save from United goalkeeper Troy Perkins.
Seven minutes later, Cruz found the back of the net for his first career MLS goal. After Landin took possession at the top of the box, the Mexican found Cruz cutting in on the right with a quick pass. Cruz wasted little time firing the ball on frame, beating Perkins and getting an assist from the woodwork as the ball ricocheted into the net.
D.C. United created some pressure on the Dynamo midway through the half as the combination of Danny Allsopp and Jaime Moreno finally got them into their attacking third. Despite earning two corners, United was unable to trouble Dynamo keeper Tally Hall, who was making his first career MLS start with Pat Onstad away on international duty.
Just as Cruz set the tone early in the half, Dominic Oduro tested the United defense late in the half with multiple scoring chances. Unfortunately for Houston and Oduro, his seemingly chronic inability to finish continued as he either missed with his shots or was thwarted by Perkins.
Curt Onalfo made two substitutions at halftime, bringing on Chris Pontius and Luciano Emilio, but it was the Dynamo who had the half's first scoring chance. Oduro drew the attention of the United defense and played a great pass with his back turned to goal that found Brian Mullan one-on-one with Perkins who made a nice save.
Just when D.C. United seemed to have settled and taken control of the flow of the match, Houston struck back in the 55th minute on the counterattack, taking advantage of the space allotted by the United defenders. Luis Angel Landin's cross into the box found Oduro wide open, and the speedy forward sent the ball rocketing past Troy Perkins. It was Oduro's second goal of the season and gave Landin another multi-assist game. Just five minutes later, Oduro just missed a chance at his second goal after he redirected a header just over the crossbar.
The introduction of Cam Weaver into the match in the 62nd minute represented the forward's first minutes of the season after suffering a knee injury in the pre-season. Weaver replaced Landin, who had picked up a yellow card for a hard tackle on D.C.'s Chris Pontius.
Despite the offensive-minded substitutions, D.C. didn't test Dynamo keeper Tally Hall, who earned a clean sheet victory in his MLS debut. United's two best chances of the half were stopped by offside calls from the linesman.
The win improves Houston to 5-5-2 (17 points) and gives D.C. United their league-worst eighth loss of the season as they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
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