HOUSTON 1 NEW ENGLAND 1 (Houston wins 4-3 on penalties.)
(1-low; 5-average; 10-high)
New England: Reis 6, Heaps 5, Parkhurst 6, John 6, Dorman 5, Ralston 6, Hernandez 5, Joseph 6, Franchino 6, Noonan 5, Twellman 6. Subs: Smith 6, Dempsey 6, Larentowicz NR.
Houston: Onstad 6, Barrett 6, Robinson 6, Cochrane 6, Waibel 6, Serioux 6, Davis 5, Mullan 5, DeRosario 6, Ching 7, Dalglish 4. Subs: Moreno 4, Gray 6, Holden NR.
Both teams were deprived of vital starters. Adrian Serioux filled for suspended Houston midfielder Ricardo Clark. Revs attacker Clint Dempsey conceded his place to Andy Dorman, with Revs coach Steve Nicol using Daniel Hernandez and Shalrie Joseph in the middle.
The Revs lacked precision in the final pass and for much of the match couldn't keep possession. Joseph won numerous balls but few of them
were smartly exploited. Dorman triggered several promising sequences,
including a wide ball to Joey
Franchino for a perfect cross that Taylor Twellman headed strongly but
too close to Houston keeper Pat Onstad,
who saved it. Dorman also pushed forward up the middle and fired a shot
that was deflected for a corner.
Houston nearly scored in the first minute, when midfielder Brad Davis raced to the back post
and shot into the side netting from a sharp angle. The Dynamo
controlled most of the play for the first 20 minutes; the rest of the
first half was even and not particularly crisp. Dwayne DeRosario fired a low,
first-time shot that Matt Reis pushed past the near post late in the
half, after Onstad's reflex save thwarted Twellman, and Brian Mullan fired way over the bar from the edge of the box to squander good service from Wade Barrett.
Houston changed from its traditional 4-4-2 late in the first half, pushing into a 3-5-2 to combat New England more effectively in midfield. Stalemate ensued. Dempsey's insertion for Dorman in the 62nd
minute livened up the game at both ends; Onstad stopped a shot from Steve Ralston and Dempsey just
failed to reach a ball Pat Noonan
drove within two yards of the far post. Matt Reis stood his ground to
block a point-blank shot that reached Barrett after Brian Ching had whiffed on it.
Nicol had sent on Khano Smith
early in the second half yet Houston kept his rampaging runs up the
left flank fairly well contained until the 112th minute, when he came
inside and played a great through ball that Twellman let bounce off his
ankle before firing it low just inside the far post. Right from the
kickoff, Mullan pushed up the right and his cross deflected off Avery John and Ching peeled away
from Jay Heaps to head it in.