In 24 MLS games this season, Houston midfielder Stuart Holden
had scored just one goal.
has three, and the Dynamo (12-5-11) is this close to clinching the Western Conference championship.
Holden scored his second goal of the match in stoppage time to down San Jose, 2-1,
Wednesday night at Robertson Stadium and increase Houston's lead atop the west to five points over Chivas USA. The teams meet on the final weekend of the regular season at Home Depot Center but the
title may be decided by then.
Holden scored on rebounds of shots off the woodwork by Kei Kamara
to all but extinguish the Quakes (7-12-9) from the playoff race. They are six points out of third place in the West and the same margin behind a slew of wild-card contenders with just
two matches to play. This game, the makeup of a Sept. 20 match postponed in the wake of Hurricane Ike's devastation, offered them a chance to make up a few valuable points, but instead their
winless streak increased to five games.
Kamara fired a shot off the post that Holden followed up to score the first goal in the sixth minute, then received a red card five minutes later
from referee Jair Marrufo
for elbowing defender, and former teammate in San Jose, Nick Garcia
. No matter. Houston,
down a man or not, controlled most of the match. Scott Sealy
pounced on yet another major error by defender Eddie
- this a poor back pass - to equalize for San Jose with his fourth goal of the season midway through the second half. The Quakes held out despite being outshot, 12-6, until the 93rd
minute, when midfielder Brian Mullan
tore down the right wing and crossed a ball that Jaqua headed off the crossbar and Holden tucked away.
can clinch the conference title and homefield advantage in the playoffs by winning at home Saturday against the Galaxy. If it does, Chivas USA will host Colorado Sunday with both eyes on the
playoffs, and not a showdown at HDC the following week.