The Houston Dynamo played a man down for more than 45 minutes in the second half, but still emerged with a 2-0 win over in-state rival FC Dallas tonight at BBVA Stadium.
Goalkeeper Marko Marić kept the clean sheet, recording a season-best eight saves to earn Man of the Match honors, while forward Darwin Quintero and midfielder Darwin Cerén each found the net.
The Dynamo opened the scoring in the 20th minute when Quintero fired a left-footed shot into the back of the net from 12 yards. Forward Ari Lassiter created the opportunity when he stripped a Dallas defender of the ball 25 yards from goal and quickly slipped a pass to Quintero in the middle of the area. Quintero took a touch to create a shooting angle and then tucked his shot just inside the far post.
Houston went a man down in first-half stoppage time when forward Mauro Manotas was sent off. The striker was initially given a yellow card for a foul on Dallas midfielder Andrés Ricuarte after an attempted slide tackle, but after consulting video replay, referee Ismail Elfath changed the call and issued a red card to Manotas.
The second half saw a desperate collective effort to defend by the Dynamo, as they withstood 16 Dallas shots and possessed the ball for just 28 percent of the time after intermission. Marić came up big time after time, while his back line blocked seven Dallas shots before they could reach him and cleared away nine Dallas corner kicks.
The Dynamo doubled their lead when Cerén converted a penalty kick to cap off a wild sequence of events in the 83rd minute. The midfielder sparked the counterattack that resulted in the penalty, sprinting down the right flank before playing an inch-perfect diagonal ball to forward Christian Ramirez. Ramirez slipped the ball to Hansen before being tackled from behind, then Reynolds slid in to bring forward Niko Hansen to the ground.
After play was halted, Elfath once again turned to video review to check whether Reynolds’ slide tackle of Hansen inside the penalty area was a foul. After a brief review, he pointed to the penalty spot. An already odd sequence became more confusing when Ramirez initially stepped up to take the penalty, but Elfath waved him off the pitch because he received medical attention during the stoppage and play had not yet restarted. Cerén calmly stepped up in his place and buried his shot in the lower left corner of the net, past a diving effort from Dallas goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.
Houston faces a quick turnaround after the win, as the Dynamo make their first visit to South Florida Saturday afternoon when they take on expansion side Inter Miami CF. That match will be televised nationally on Univision, with kickoff set for 4 p.m. CDT.