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Houston Dynamo smash FC Dallas

Published 9/30/2007 5:14:47 PM by staff from mlsnet
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Though it's been two weeks since they last took the field, reigning MLS Cup champions Houston Dynamo showed no ill effects from their layoff as they defeated FC Dallas 3-0 on Sunday afternoon at Pizza Hut Park.   Dynamo got goals from Dwayne DeRosario in first-half stoppage time, Eddie Robinson in the 53rd minute and Stuart Holden in the 84th minute as they recorded their first win ever against FCD in Frisco. In addition, both teams ended the match a player short after Houston's Ricardo Clark and Hoops striker Carlos Ruiz were sent off in the final minute.

With the victory, Dynamo moved back into a tie for the lead in the Western Conference  with Chivas USA, both teams with 48 points, though Houston have a game in hand. FC Dallas still have 40 points, and while they are on the verge of qualifying for the MLS Cup Playoffs, they must sweat it out for at least another week.

Almost from the opening whistle, it was clear that the match was going to be a physical one between the sides from the Lone Star State. In the fifth minute, Ashe was shown yellow after a hard tackle on FCD right back Drew Moor. Then, in the 17th minute, Ruiz was booked for a hard foul on Robinson. All told, referee Jorge Gonzalez issued six yellows on the afternoon -- four to Houston and two to FCD.

Things started well for the visitors. In the 11th minute, Houston forward Joseph Ngwenya made a nice run up the left side of the field and sent a cross into the middle of the FCD box. That pass found Nate Jaqua, but the 6-foot-3 midfielder was unable to connect and instead sent the ball wide right.  Houston's Brian Ching, who is tied with Ngwenya for the Dynamo lead with seven goals, got a look in the 27th minute but all the 2006 MLS Cup MVP could muster was a slow roller that fell harmlessly into the hands of FCD goalkeeper Dario Sala.

Ashe found some space in the 33rd on the right side but his shot was deflected. Then a Ching effort just two minutes later ended in similar fashion. Dynamo was awarded a free kick in the 37th minute about 25 yards from the FCD goal. Richard Mulrooney took the free kick and found Ryan Cochrane inside the area. The Dynamo defender got his head on the ball but his effort went high.  FCD's first shot didn't come until the 42nd minute when all-star midfielder Juan Toja launched one from about 20 yards out. To the dismay of the home crowd, the Colombian international's shot sailed high. That proved to be the home side's lone shot of the opening half.

Dynamo deservedly took the lead just before halftime, when De Rosario scored as a product of great effort more than anything. The Houston midfielder was dribbling outside of the FCD box when the ball caromed off Hoops midfielder Pablo Ricchetti, and fell about two feet in front o f him.  De Rosario then met the ball and sent it just inside the right post seconds before Hoops center back Clarence Goodson came sliding in with a late tackle to make it 1-0. It was De Rosario's sixth goal of the season, and he's been involved in Houston goals in five of his last six games.

Even after logging just one shot in the opening frame, FCD's fortunes actually looked to be on the upswing early in the second half. In the 48th minute, Ruiz, who was a workhorse for much of the day, got his side's first shot on goal of the afternoon but Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad was there to make the save.  Then, in the 50th, FCD midfielder Dax McCarty was fouled by De Rosario at the top of the arc. Denilson took the free kick from about 17 yards out, which was deflected. The ball then fell to the feet of Ricchetti, but his shot too was deflected away from danger by Houston.

Ngwenya almost made it academic in the 54th. After a Mulrooney corner from the left flag found him near the far post, Ngweyna made a great play on the ball while on his back. He then got up and sent a shot toward the far post that would have gone in if not for Dax McCarty, who was there to clear it off the line.  Then, in the 55th, De Rosario nearly added his second score of the match when he blasted one from about 25 yards out. That effort would have gone in would it not been for an outstretched Sala, who got a hand on the ball and sent it over the crossbar.

Dynamo hit for the second from a corner kick. Robinson was unmarked at the far post when Mulrooney found him and the Dynamo defender put it home to give the visitors a 2-0 lead. It was Robinson's second goal of the season, all in the last three games.  FCD had a few chances in the second half but none were of a serious nature. A shot by Houston native Arturo Alvarez in the 60th went high and efforts by Toja in the 65th and Ruiz in the 67th went wide left and wide right, respectively.

By the 64th minute, Morrow had seen enough. He took off Denilson for speedy striker Dominic Oduro and also pulled Ricchetti for 19-year-old forward Ricardinho. Earlier in the week, the FCD boss said that he expected more from Denilson, FCD's designated player but Morrow clearly didn't get the effort he expected from the Brazilian on Sunday.  Holden then put the game away in the 84th minute. McCarty attempted a clearance but his header went straight down. Ching then latched onto the ball and held Goodson at bay long enough to find Holden near the far post, and he put it into the far side of the net to make it 3-0.

Holden had entered the match in the 68th minute for Corey Ashe. It was his first action in a span of six games after suffering an ankle injury.   Things finally boiled over between the rivals in the 89th minute when Ruiz and Clark got tangled near the far post. While Ruiz was on the ground, Clarke kicked him in the right shoulder and was summarily sent off by Gonzalez with a straight red card. Clarke had previously been shown yellow in the 81st for a professional foul.

Ruiz was also sent off after the melee with a straight red after kneeing Clark in the back after the play. The Guatemalan international had been booked in the 17th minute, an infraction that put him over the limit for yellow card accumulation. He will now miss FCD's next two matches.

Label: MLS, Houston Dynamo, FC Dallas, Dwayne DeRosario, Eddie Robinson, Stuart Holden
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