The Houston Dynamo fans’ hopes for a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup title would come to a heartbreaking halt at the hands of fellow MLS Western Conference rival Chivas USA. The Goats broke a club spell by winning their first match at Robertson Stadium at the expense of what were undoubtedly the Dynamo reserves.
Despite losing the only two league meetings earlier this year against La Naranja , Chivas USA must feel they got the better end of the battle by eliminating the Dynamo from US Open Cup play and will await the winner of the Los Angeles Galaxy-Seattle Sounders FC quarterfinal.
Brian Ching may have taken the night off, but one could’ve sworn to see the USA men’s national team habits of giving up early goals on the field as Justin Braun’s header in the fifth minute opened up the scoreboard and gave the visiting Chivas USA the 1-0 lead. Houston Dynamo was forced to play catch up the rest of the evening.
Simply by looking at the lineups sent on to the field by their respective managers, it is evident Houston Dynamo sent their reserves to face all but two Chivas USA common starters. Chivas USA flew to Houston to win and their attitude exhibited that objective in immediate fashion. The teams would battle opportunities and possession back and forth, but ultimately the scoreboard maintained the same result til halftime.
The problem facing Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear at halftime has been the one in bold all season long: team complacency and no sense of urgency. Both teams took the same amount of shots: two. The difference was Chivas USA converted on a shot for goal.
When you refuse to react to the opposing threat and furthermore allow the adversary to keep aiming for goal, sooner or later you will feel the attack. Chivas USA reacted on a counter attack led by Ante Jazic to a lone Michael Lahoud, who went one-on-one with a vulnerable Tally Hall and fired the laser into the broad target to place Chivas USA 2-0 en route to the semifinal.
No matter the lead, the dedicated 1,037 fans at Robertson Stadium withstood a light rain and rallied behind subs Danny Cruz and Lovel Palmer to control the midfield into an all-out attack to possibly send the game into extra time or win in dramatic fashion.
Danny Cruz has been on the rise, scoring recent goals in MLS competition. Lovel Palmer has scored in crucial situations; his first MLS goal came earlier in the season at Robertson when he fired a near half-field shot for goal and his most recent moment of triumph came in the previous USOC match where he scored the game winner versus Miami FC.
Houston Dynamo’s comeback opportunities were looking bleak until the 86th minute of the match. Joseph Ngwenya was fighting for possession against two Chivas USA players, found the opportunity and fired with power the Jabulani ball that would rebound off teammate Dominic Oduro and send a wave of thrill to hopeful Houston Dynamo fans that now saw the comeback to be a possibility.
To the dismay of those wearing orange jerseys in the stadium, the mood quickly changed as the lousy work at defense once again left Tally Hall alone inside the box. Justin Braun would sprint down the field off another counter attack and a valiant Tally Hall that managed to save an earlier threatening shot could not stop the misleading chip in stoppage time that would cement Chivas USA’s dominance and secure the Goats’ ticket to the semifinals of the 2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.