The Revs have depth up front and in goal, and the Dynamo doesn't. New England extended its unbeaten regular-season run against the two-time defending champs to six games by winning, 2-0, at Robertson Stadium Thursday with goals by veteran Steve Ralston and rookie Kheli Dube, and a penalty-kick save by Matt Reis.
Houston generated a fair number of good chances but those shots that weren't misfired were snuffed by Reis, who bailed out a four-man back line to post a fifth shutout of the season in a meeting of elite teams impaired by international absentees.
Both teams were depleted of players on national team duty. New England played without midfielders Kenny Mansally (Gambia), Khano Smith (Bermuda) and Shalrie Joseph (Grenada), as well as injured striker Taylor Twellman. U.S. forward Brian Ching missed the match for Houston, as did goalkeeper Pat Onstad and midfielder Dwayne De Rosario of Canada.
Houston sorely missed Ching, who scored twice in a 3-1 defeat of Toronto last weekend, as forwards Franco Caraccio and Chris Wondolowskiwere among the Dynamo players who failed to convert good opportunities. Geoff Cameron and Brian Mullaneach had three shots as Houston outshot the revs, 15-7; Mullan fired one shot from a sharp angle between Reis' ankles that just missed the far post, and belted a bouncing, first-time effort that the New England keeper did well to swat to safety.
Stand-in keeper Tony Caig handed New England a goal by allowing a bouncing Dube shot to carom off his chest into the net 10 minutes before halftime for the second Revs' goal. Dube set up Ralston for the first goal in the eight minute by muscling past defender Pat Ianni to push a ball that Ralston tapped in at the far post.
Reis turned away a Stuart Holden penalty kick after Michael Parkurst won the ball from Caraccio with a sliding tackle that referee Mark Geiger ruled to be a foul. Holden hit the ball hard to Reis right at a convenient height for the keeper, who pushed it aside at full stretch with both hands.
The Revs (8-3-2) are unbeaten in their last six games and improved their regular season record against Houston to 3-0-3. The loss ended a three-game unbeaten run for the Dynamo (4-4-5).