[SUPERLIGA] Houston claimed victory in the latest renewal of its rivalry with Mexican club Pachuca by posting a 2-1 victory in their Group A SuperLiga opener Thursday at Robertson Stadium.
Jospeph Ngwenya hit a volley off a blocked shot to open the scoring in the 19th minute, and struck again with five minutes left by heading a Corey Ashe free kick to the near post past keeper Miguel Calero. Damian Manso had equalized for Pachuca six minutes into the second half by running onto a return ball from U.S. international Jose Francisco Torres and sticking a shot under Dynamo goalie Tally Hall.
Saves by Hall stymied Dario Cvitanich and Franco Arizala in a busy first half that produced numerous chances but ended with the Dynamo leading, 1-0. After Manso scored to tie the game, he nearly secured a 2-1 lead for Pachuca with a swerving shot that beat keeper Hall but rebounded off the crossbar near the top corner.
At the other end, Brian Ching shot home the rebound of a saved free kick. Despite replays that showed he was in-line with the last defender when the Danny Cruz struck the free kick, an offside decision annulled the goal.
After Ngwenya’s second goal, Pachuca defender Daniel Arreola fired a shot from distance that Hall acrobatically turned over the crossbar to preserve the victory for one his four saves in an impressive performance.
Pachuca and Houston have met seven times in SuperLiga and Concacaf club competitions, with the overall series now deadlocked at three wins apiece, plus one tie.
Group A action resumes Sunday with a doubleheader at Roberston. Houston plays Chivas USA at 8 p.m. ET, followed by Puebla and Pachuca at 10:30 p.m.
July 15 in Houston
Houston 2, Pachuca 1. Goals: Ngwenya 19, 85; Manso 51.
Houston – Hall; Hainault, Robinson (Boswell, 32), Cochrane, Chabala, Cruz (Mullan, 70), Palmer, Mulrooney (Serioux, 70), Davis (Ashe, 57), Ching, Ngwenya.
Pachuca – Calero; Aguilar, Munoz, Arreola, Gerardo, Luna (Brambila, 46), Torres, Manso, Ascencion, Arizala (Gomez, 58), Cvitanich (Montes, 66).
Referee: Jerry Soliz.