DeRo sparkles as Henry and finishing disappoint.
After an abysmal opening 45 minutes that was filled with miscommunication and agitation from the home side, New York’s Dane Richards broke the deadlock only two minutes into the latter stanza. Dwayne De Rosario, making his Red Bull debut as a substitute, assisted on the goal when he slipped the Jamaican through the Houston defense.
A mere five minutes later Tally Hall booted a goal kick to Will Bruin who flicked on Cam Weaver. The striker chipped the bouncing ball over an onrushing Bouna Coundoul to equalize. The Red Bulls maintained pressure for the rest of the match, but were denied by Hall on every occasion, even during a final 10 minutes that contained a flurry of opportunities.
The Red Bulls opened the evening well, controlling possession similarly to how they did against the Seattle Sounders two weeks before. This positive start quickly petered into sluggishness after New York didn’t capitalize on two early half-chances. In the eighth minute, Thierry Henry sprung Roy Miller as the left back found space in the Houston area. The Costa Rican fullback hesitated, hoping that Hall would go down prematurely, but the net-minder stood strong – a moment that would foreshadow later events - easily denying Miller when he finally shot.
Five minutes later, Henry was on the receiving end of a Teemu Tainio chip that was reminiscent of the Finn’s assist against Seattle. The French striker got behind the Dynamo’s backline, but shanked his left-footed volley away from goal. Between the two RBNY opportunities came a wonderful sprawling save by Coundoul who denied Geoff Cameron’s low flick at the near post.
The rattling of Coundoul’s crossbar broke a sloppy 10 minutes that comprised nothing noteworthy. Cameron, free at the top of NY's penalty area, flicked down a free kick to Brian Ching, who volleyed off the goal frame. Ching had another chance in the 27th minute, but he headed wide of goal before being crushed by the oncoming Coundoul. The Hawaiian striker was serenaded with “U.S. Reject” chants was substituted in the 39th minutes when rib pains ended his night early.
De Rosario immediately endeared himself to Red Bull supporters when he found a diagonally cutting Richards behind Houston’s centerbacks. The winger cut back across Hunter Freeman and curled his finish past a stranded Hall in the 47th minute.
The advantage would not last long as the 50th minute saw Weaver, Ching’s replacement, level the score.
The next 15 minutes included a plethora of Red Bull chances. Richards could have retaken the lead moments following the Houston goal, but he somehow fired wide after receiving a cross by Joel Lindpere on the back post. Houston packed the box three minutes later when both Richards and Lindpere shots were blocked in quick succession. Then in the 60th minute, an awkward cross by the Estonian eluded Hall and glanced off the cross bar.
De Rosario almost generated another Red Bull goal when he clipped Richards into the Dynamo’s penalty area. Richards volleyed a light pass across the goal frame that landed at the feet of Henry, but a diving Hall blocked his nonchalant finish.
The Red Bulls appeared destined to find a winner in the final 10 minutes; however, a mixture of Hall’s heroics and poor finishing caused New York to exit the match ruing two lost points.
In the 83rd minute, Lindpere found Juan Agudelo, who rifled a shot that was blocked by a Houston defender on the goal line. Four minutes later, Lindpere chipped another cross, but this time De Rosario headed poorly wide of goal. Agudelo served up Henry just before stoppage time, but, of course, Hall made his best save of his night as he pushed the DP’s header over his net. Two more unconverted chances were all the Red Bulls had left as the night ended in a deserved point for both sides.