Categorized | Match Reports

Dynamo face uphill battle after 1-1 draw with Atlante

Posted on 25 February 2009 by dbuckholt

The Houston Dynamo face an uphill struggle to advance in the CONCACAF Champions League after a disappointing 1-1 draw with Atlante FC of Mexico in the first leg of their quarterfinal series Tuesday evening at Robertson Stadium. Houston took the lead in the 34th minute on Bobby Boswell’s header, and should have gone to halftime at least another goal up. But they instead conceded a devastating away goal to Atlante’s Gabriel Pereyra in the 82nd minute.

“For our first competitive game, I thought we played well. Obviously, the 1-1 makes it more difficult as we head down to Cancun. It’s a good result for them, it’s not a terrible result for us. We just need to win a game away from home, which we’ve done before,” Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear said.

“We started well the first 30 minutes. When the goal hit, we lost our concentration. They had two chances to put the game away,” Atlante coach Jose Guadalupe Cruz said. Cruz had to watch the game from a stadium box, as he was suspended for a red card in the last match of group play. Assistant coach Jose Luis Gonzalez was in charge on the sidelines for this game.

Houston posted a 2-1-2 record in their early exhibition matches. Atlante has been struggling as they near the midpoint of the Mexican Clausura season, only gathering seven points in seven matches.

As the Dynamo enter a new era without Dwayne DeRosario at attacking midfield, Stuart Holden got the start in the middle. Holden was playing in his first match since losing his father Brian to pancreatic cancer last week. There was a moment of silence in honor of Brian Holden before the match, and the Dynamo players also wore black armbands in his memory.

“It was emotional leading up to the game, and it was nice that my dad was honored with a moment of silence. But the second you step over that line, it’s all about the game, it’s all about beating Atlante, and that’s what my focus was. It’s not easy losing your dad, but he’s in a better place now,” Holden said.

Julius James, who was acquired from Toronto in the DeRosario trade, got the start in central defense with Eddie Robinson suspended for a red card in the Dynamo’s final game of group stage play last November. Atlante also had a starter suspended, as keeper Federico Vilar was out for yellow card accumulation in the group stage and was replaced by Omar Ortiz.

The Dynamo jumped on the Potros in the early minutes, but Atlante did settle down after being pinned back in their own end of the field. Houston then found another gear during the last 15 minutes of the half. Kei Kamara forced a good save from Ortiz at the right post in the 31st minute with a flick header off a Richard Mulrooney cross.

Brad Davis won a corner in the 34th minute when his shot was deflected out. Davis took the corner himself from the right, and Boswell got away from his mark to drive home a header from 10 yards out.

“We all know that in dead ball situations, Brad is one of the best. But it’s important that not only the service is there, but you’ve got guys attacking the ball,” Kinnear said.

Houston kept up the pressure, and Holden blew a golden chance in the 37th minute when the Potros defense let the ball squirt through to him unmarked on the left side of the box. Instead of shooting, Holden tried to slip the ball across the box to Brian Ching, but the pass was well ahead of the target and ran out of play.

“It was just one of those where you’re caught in two minds. You don’t know whether it’s an easier opportunity for someone else, and it was on my left foot. In hindsight, I have to be a little more ruthless, a little more selfish, and take the shot,” Holden said.

Kamara gave a fantastic effort to get his head to a Brian Mullan cross two minutes later, only for his shot to hit the crossbar, and Atlante cleared for a corner. Boswell got open again for a header on that corner, but nodded down weakly and Ortiz saved.

Ortiz nearly gifted Ching with a chance at an empty net when he missed a clearing punch in his box in the 44th minute, but his defense cleared the ball.

“We were unfortunate not to come out at halftime with more goals than just the one,” Kinnear said.

Atlante brought on Clemente Ovalle for an ineffective Giancarlo Maldonado at halftime, and moved an extra man into midfield to try to clog up the Dynamo attack.

The momentum Houston had at the end of the first half dissipated quickly as the second half began, though Kinnear felt it was due to the choppiness of the flow of the game, as referee Neal Brizan of Trinidad and Tobago whistled a total of 42 fouls in the match.

“It was 42 fouls called, and I don’t think it was a rough game. I think (Brizan) called way too many fouls. Our positive momentum going forward was still evident (in the second half). I really think it was that the game was stopped so many times that it was hard to get a rhythm for both teams,” Kinnear said.

Luis Gabriel Rey spurned a golden chance to tie the game in the 58th minute, heading over the bar from a Fernando Navarro cross. Atlante began to gain the initiative in the second half, although they were getting few chances. By the 75th minute, they seemed content to go back home only down a goal, and fatigue was certainly setting in as well, as they were playing their fourth match in 11 days.

The tying goal came after a questionable decision by Brizan to award a corner when it appeared the ball had deflected off Atlante from a free kick. Luis Venegas played Navarro’s corner from the far post to Pereyra at the goalmouth, where he beat Ricardo Clark to the ball and headed in from close range.

“Even though it wasn’t a call that went our way, you still have to defend the corner kick, and we didn’t defend it well, because they scored. We got caught napping, they had a guy curl around, and they were more aggressive to the second ball,” Kinnear said.

“In the second half, we adjusted. We did what we like to do, which is keep possession of the ball. We think we deserved the tie,” Cruz said.

Houston had to throw bodies forward now, but only a header from substitute Geoff Cameron in the 90th minute gave Ortiz any trouble, and he easily tipped the shot over the crossbar.

While the Dynamo can advance with a tie of 2-2 or greater in the second leg next Tuesday in Cancun, they can also go through by doing something no MLS team has ever done – win a competitive match in Mexico.

“History doesn’t play games. We still need to go back and do what we need to do,” Cruz said.

“We have to score a goal, that’s the one thing. We knew it was going to come down to the second game anyway, most of these (series) do. It’s something that’s not out of reach. It’s not over,” Kinnear said.

Match Facts

Scoring Summary:
HOU — Bobby Boswell (Brad Davis) 34
ATN — Gabriel Pereyra (Luis Venegas, Fernando Navarro) 82

Misconduct Summary:
ATN — Gabriel Pereyra (caution; Reckless Foul) 9
ATN — Daniel Arreola (caution; Reckless Tackle) 44
HOU — Kei Kamara (caution; Reckless Foul) 56
HOU — Brad Davis (caution; Tactical Foul) 63
HOU — Richard Mulrooney (caution; Delaying a Restart) 68
HOU — Geoff Cameron (caution; Reckless Tackle) 81
ATN — Gerardo Espinoza (caution; Tactical Foul) 83
ATN — Luis Venegas (caution; Reckless Tackle) 89

Shots: Houston 9, Atlante 6. Shots on goal: Houston 4, Atlante 3. Fouls: Houston 20, Atlante 22. Offsides: Houston 2, Atlante 3. Corners: Houston 12, Atlante 3. Saves: Houston 2, Atlante 3.

G – Pat Onstad
D – Richard Mulrooney, Bobby Boswell, Julius James, Wade Barrett (c)
M – Brian Mullan (Geoff Cameron 77), Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden, Brad Davis
F – Kei Kamara, Brian Ching

Substitutes not used – Tally Hall, Corey Ashe, Mike Chabala, John Michael Hayden, Craig Waibel, Chris Wondolowski

G – Omar Ortiz
D – Miguel Angel Martinez, Gerardo Espinoza, Luis Venegas
M – Fernando Navarro, Jose Guerrero, Gabriel Pereyra (c), Daniel Arreola (Luis David Velazquez 89)
F – Giancarlo Maldonado (Clemente Ovalle 46), Luis Gabriel Rey, Rafael Marquez Lugo (Andres Carevic 85)

Substitutes not used – Gerardo Ruiz, Gerardo Castillo, Diego Garcia, Ismael Valadez

Att. – 10,203

1 Comments For This Post

  1. joel is latest soccer news Says:

    Thanks for the article. The game in cancun is going to be difficult. Losing Jacqua and DeRo will be their demise in the CCL

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