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Defenses sturdy in FC Dallas Houston Dynamo tie

Published 7/1/2007 5:09:29 PM by staff from fcdallas.net
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Houston Dynamo were unable to break through a patchwork FC Dallas back line and FCD were unable to solve backup Dynamo goalkeeper Zach Wells as the two Texas sides played to a goalless draw Saturday at Pizza Hut Park.

In pregame warmups, the reigning MLS Cup champs got some bad news when starting goalkeeper Pat Onstad twisted his back and had to leave the field. His status will be evaluated further once the team returns to Houston. Wells, who took Onstad's spot in the lineup while he was playing for Canada at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, replaced him in the nets. Wells was 2-0-0 for Houston during Onstad's absence earlier in the month.

The hosts had to make some lineup changes of their own as three of their four starting defenders were unavailable. Normal starting back Drew Moor was with the U.S. national team at Copa America and was replaced by Bobby Rhine. Left back and Houston native Chris Gbandi was serving a suspension for yellow card accumulation and was replaced by David Wagenfuhr, and center back Alex Yi missed the match with a strained hamstring suffered a week ago and was replaced by Aaron Pitchkolan.

The best chance of the early part of the game came in the fourth minute on Houston's first corner kick. Brad Davis, who had his first career hat trick in a 4-0 win against Chivas USA on June 21, sent a quality corner and right back Craig Waibel got on the end of it, but his header sailed high over the FCD goal.

The Hoops had a good chance in the 10th minute when they were awarded a free kick about 25 yards from the Dynamo net. Pablo Ricchetti's kick went into the heart of the Houston box, where FCD captain Carlos Ruiz was waiting. Ruiz nearly tucked a header just inside the right post, but his effort missed wide by mere inches.

In the 17th, Ruiz had another crack at netting his first goal since a 2-1 win at the Los Angeles Galaxy on April 12 when he tried to lob one over Wells' head, but the Houston 'keeper was there for an easy stop.  Davis found another Houston defender off a free kick in the 26th. That was when the Dynamo midfielder took one from about 35 yards out to the left of the FCD goal. His booming effort landed in the heart of the Hoops box, but Eddie Robinson's attempted header sailed high over the goal.

Robinson was booked in the 29th for a reckless foul, giving him five yellow cards this season. That means that he will miss Dynamo's Thursday night match with the New York Red Bulls in Houston through suspension.

In the 38th minute, Pitchkolan took down Dynamo striker Brian Ching just outside of the restraining arc and received a yellow card from referee Brian Hall. Davis took the ensuing direct free kick about 25 yards from the Hoops goal but his shot was right at opposing goalkeeper Dario Sala.

Ching had to leave the field in the 48th minute after blood gushed from a cut over his eye. He returned to the pitch two minutes later and in the 53rd, received a great ball from Brian Mullan at the far post but his shot went wide left.

As the second half continued, FC Dallas started to gain the upper hand. Alvarez wiggled his way free from a Houston defender inside the Dynamo box in the 59th minute but his shot was deflected wide. After several deflections, the ensuing corner fell at the feet of Hoops midfielder Juan Toja, but he poked his shot wide of the goal.  Ching's cut began bleeding again in the 63rd minute and once again, he had to leave the field to be attended to by the Dynamo training staff. He returned to the field several minutes later with his head wrapped in gauze.

Dominic Oduro laid a ball off to Ruiz inside the Dynamo box in the 70th minute but Ruiz's attempt to lob the ball into the upper corner went wide left. Seconds later, Oduro left the game for Abe Thompson, who nearly scored on his first touch after entering the match when he too attempted to put one over Wells' head, but the Houston 'keeper was there for the stop.

Houston midfielder Dwayne De Rosario got his first two chances late in the day. In the 79th, he got a decent look at the FCD goal but saw his effort go wide left. Then, in the 85th, the Canadian international had a one-on-one with Sala but the FCD 'keeper was there for a point-blank save inside the Hoops penalty area to ensure both teams would leave with a point, if not a goal.

FC Dallas , which had gone 19 games without keeping a clean sheet before shutting out Real Salt Lake 1-0 at Rice-Eccles Stadium on June 14, now has registered shutouts in three of their last four matches, while Dynamo extended their unbeaten streak to six games, after winning five in a row. The Hoops also maintained their three-point edge ahead of Dynamo in the Western Conference, now with 26 points while Houston has 23.

Label: FC Dallas, MLS, Houston Dynamo, Bobby Rhine, Carlos Ruiz, Pablo Ricchetti, Brian Ching, Dwayne De Rosario
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