Goals: Houston Dynamo—James Riley (OG) 80’, Ricardo Clark 89’
Quick Recap: New year, same result. DC United fell 2-0 to the defending Eastern Conference champion Houston Dynamo—unable to avenge last year’s playoff loss.
It took the Dynamo 80 minutes, but a James Riley own goal and a scorcher from Ricardo Clark in the closing minutes allowed Houston to continue its dominance over DC.
The Dynamo have now won 10 of their last 16 matches against United, with eight of nine coming at home.
Wild First Half: United were fortunate to finish the first half with 11 men. Chris Korb’s foul on Clark denied a clear scoring opportunity, but only produced a yellow card.
Though the foul was committed outside of the box, referee Baldomero Toledo pointed to the spot. Hamid bailed out his teammate, saving Brad Davis’ poor penalty and the subsequent rebound from Clark.
Korb redeemed himself in the 44th minute, clearing a Will Bruin header off the line, ending a chaotic final five minutes.
Man of the Match: Ricardo Clark drew the penalty, was in the area of the own goal and gave the Dynamo some insurance in the 89th minute.
Still No De Ro: Last year, United were forced to face the Dynamo without their captain Dwayne De Rosario due to injury. This year it was due to suspension.
De Rosario was forced to sit out of Saturday’s match after the MLS Disciplinary Committee suspended him for “violent conduct that endangered the safety of his opponent, Danny Cruz.”
Home Sweet Home: The Dynamo extended their MLS home unbeaten streak to 26—three shy of the record set by Real Salt Lake in 2011.
Lesson Learned: The Dynamo proved that last year was no fluke. Though United had their chances, Houston was clearly the better side.
The Dynamo possessed the ball 58 percent of the time and had 17 attempts on goal (six on target). DC did not officially record a shot on target on seven attempts.
Up Next: United host Real Salt Lake next Saturday, while the Dynamo host Santos Laguna in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League Tuesday night.