Final: Dynamo 1 - 2 De Rosario

Toronto FC travels to Houston to face the Dynamo in a must-win match with playoff implications for both teams.

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A Tale Of Two Halves: One Great, One Terrible In Game That Lacked Killer Instinct

On Saturday night the Houston Dynamo played one half of fantastic soccer and one half of absolutely dreadful soccer.

The game was a tale of two halves which only made the 2-1 loss that much more difficult to accept.

As soon as the referee signaled the beginning of the match, the Dynamo started a half characterized by tough, aggressive and attacking play. The team dominated Toronto FC, pinning them back in their half for almost the entire first forty-five minutes.

Toronto broke out once or twice, but never really threatened the Dynamo defense of veteran goalkeeper Pat Onstad.

Instead it was Houston, who looked like the attacking team from 2006 and 2007, who dictated the pace of play and continued to press on the attack. Perhaps the best stat of the first half\, the one that really proves Houston’s dominance is that the Dynamo had nine first half corner kicks compared to Toronto’s one.

The Dynamo opened up the scoring in the eighteenth minute when Brian Ching headed in a great ball from Brad Davis from a set piece. The midfielder swung in a cross that met Ching’s head inside the box before finding the back of the net. It was the goal Houston needed and one that seemed to bolster their belief that they could win the game.

All of those good feelings were erased as soon as the second half started. Toronto FC came out of the locker room with a fire under their butts and quickly took control of the match. The physicality of the game was immediately ramped up as both teams traded tackles and shoves, with Houston trying to slow down the much improved Toronto attack.

Dwayne De Rosario punished Houston’s lack of focus in the sixtieth minute when he blasted in a goal that came from a set piece play. Toronto midfielder Maicon Santos passed the free kick to De Rosario who smashed in a shot from just outside the Dynamo box.

It was a goal that seemed to shock the Dynamo, which was fine for Toronto, who started to believe that the game could be won, keeping their playoff dreams alive.

Toronto’s playoff dreams looked over, that is until the ninety-third minute when Dynamo defender Eddie Robinson pulled down De Rosario just outside the box, preventing him from continuing the attack. All the Dynamo needed to do was block the resulting free kick to keep the draw, but the team could not even do that. De Rosario again punished the Dynamo, pummeling the free kick into the back of Houston’s net, keeping Toronto’s playoff dreams alive.

So what happened to Houston in the second half? It seemed like the team that dominated the beginning of the game simply checked out and left the stadium, allowing Toronto to play their style game, snatching a late victory. After controlling the first half, Houston simply thought the second half would be just as easy and opted to coast through the remaining forty-five minutes. That lapse in judgment and lack of mental focus cost the Dynamo dearly. Not only are any hopes of the playoffs gone, but so is this confidence in the team.

So what happens now? Well, the Dynamo still have six games left, and while their season is essentially over they still need to play their part and close out the remaining games with dignity and a desire to win. Should Coach Dominic Kinnear play his young guys and see who he should keep for next year? That’s his call, but it would be nice to see where this team stands and what exactly they need to work on ahead of what will surely be a long and painful off-season.

Fans will get a glimpse of what’s next this coming weekend when the Dynamo travel to Washington D.C. to take on bottom-feeders D.C.United.

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Final: Dynamo 1 - 2 De Rosario

Dwayne De Rosario’s two goals off of free kicks were just too much for the Dynamo to handle Saturday night in Houston.

Check back here later tonight for post-game thoughts, quotes and analysis.

I’m off to the locker room to see if anyone has anything interesting to say.

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60: De Rosario Punishes Dynamo With Free Kick, Tied 1-1

Former Dynamo and current Toronto FC midfielder Dwayne De Rosario just blasted Toronto level with Houston with fantastic effort from just outside the box. The goal was set up by Maicon Santos off of a free kick from the edge of Houston’s box.

Each team now has 30 minutes to make something special happen and take all three points away from this match.

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Half Time: Ching Header The Difference At Half, Dynamo Lead 1-0

At forty-five minutes of play, the Houston Dynamo lead Toronto FC 1 – 0, with Brian Ching’s 18th minute header the difference. So far the game has been dominated by the Dynamo who are primarily attacking from the wings.

Danny Cruz has looked solid on the right side of the midfield, and seems to be filling Brian Mullan’s boots just fine. The addition of Joseph Ngwenya to the line-up seems to have given the Dynamo the much-needed creativity they lacked the last few games.

While Houston have had a number shots on goal and have threatened throughout the half, Toronto has only looked dangerous once when Maicon Santos muffed a one-on-one against Pat Onstad.

The Dynamo will be hoping the second half holds more of the same and that they can come out and continue to dominate possession.

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18: Ching Heads In The Opener

In the 18th minute, Dynamo captain Brian Ching headed in the opening goal off a Brad Davis free kick. The free kick came after Joseph Ngwenya was taken down in the middle third of the pitch.

This is Brian Ching’s seventh goal of the season.

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14: All Dynamo So Far

After fourteen minutes of play, the game is still scoreless, but so far it has been all Dynamo all the time (aside from a bad pass that found the feet of Maicon Santos).

Coach Kinnear clearly told his team to come out and play aggressive. An early goal would be sure to settle their nerves and give them the belief that they can take three points away from this game.

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Line-Ups: De Rosario Returns To His Old Stomping Grounds

Here’s tonight’s starting line-up for Toronto FC:

F: Maicon Santos
F: Chad Barrett
M: Joseph Nane
M: Dwayne De Rosario
M: Julian De Guzman
M: Nick LaBrocca
D: Makim Usanov
D: Ty Harden
D: Adrian Cann
D: Dan Gargan
GK: Stefan Frei

Subs: Jon Conway (GK), Martin Saric, O’Brian White, Mista, Nick Garcia, Nicholas Lindsay, Jacob Peterson

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Line-Ups: Ngwenya Gets The Start

Here’s your starting XI for the Houston Dynamo:

F: Brian Ching ©
F: Joseph Ngwenya
LM: Brad Davis
CAM: Geoff Cameron
CDM: Richard Mulrooney
RM: Danny Cruz
LB: Mike Chabala
CB: Eddie Robinson
CB: Bobby Boswell
RB: Andrew Hainault
GK: Pat Onstad

Subs: Tyler Deric (GK), Samuel Appiah, Corey Ashe, Ryan Cochrane, Dominic Oduro, Adrian Serioux, Cam Weaver

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Preview: Dynamo v. Toronto FC

Tonight the Houston Dynamo square up against Toronto FC is a must-win game for both teams. Toronto FC seems to have the easier road to the playoffs and a win tonight will help the cause, but the Dynamo will need to win tonight's game and the remaining fixtures in order to have any chance of making the post-season. Regardless, a draw does not help either team, so both sides should be playing attacking soccer early. 

For a full preview of tonight's match, check out Ginge's excellent article on Dynamo Theory.

As soon as starting line-ups are available they will be posted here. Check out SB Nation Houston and Dynamo Theory.

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