Orange represents the Houston Dynamo and it’s splattered all over BBVA Compass Stadium — and, when visiting south Texas, orange symbolizes inevitable defeat.
United almost escaped with a point Saturday night, but alas, calamity struck again in Space City, this time in the form of an 80th-minute own goal.
My match report with a few quotes is available here.
Ben Olsen: “I was encouraged by the second half. The first half, we were shaky in a lot of areas and they were better. We still had good looks, and in a place like this, you have to take those. The two, three good chances we had, we’ve got to score those to get out of here. We didn’t do that.”
Chris Pontius was both unlucky and inefficient. He kissed a free kick off the crossbar but also squandered a promising run in the first half. He had two other decent chances, as well.
Pontius didn’t think much of United’s performance.
“I felt good about it for about 10 minutes in the second half. We actually started moving the ball and people wanted the ball. I didn’t see that in the first half. It’s expected in the first 25 minutes of the first game of the year; it’s going to be hectic. They were on the ball, they wanted the ball. We were hiding at times from the ball. I don’t understand why. We’re chasing the game the whole time.”
Dwayne De Rosario‘s absence had something to do with it. So did the fact that Houston is very good — disciplined and smart and composed and experienced and organized and well-coached.
Bill Hamid came to United’s emotional rescue with a pair of terrific first-half saves, including one on a penalty kick, which Brad Davis telegraphed in his approach.
Should the PK have even by awarded? The initial contact took place just outside the box, not inside of it. [Video here.] It was a difficult determination for referee Baldomero Toledo trailing the play, but the assistant referee was almost even with the sequence and should have helped with the placement.
Things could have been worse for United, though. By whistling a foul, Toledo was obligated to consider a red card for Korb. Had there not been contact, Ricardo Clark was alone with Hamid. Thus, Korb denied a clear scoring opportunity.
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Remember the playoff game between these clubs in November when Andre Hainault was not sent off for a challenge on United’s Raphael Augusto charging into open space?
Now, did Korb commit a foul on the play? Yeah, probably. He put his arm on Clark and stuck in his foot.
Hamid stopped the PK, so no reason to belabor the point.
United’s broader issues are sustaining an attacking menace without De Rosario and finishing the opportunities that do arise.
As disappointing as the night was, there are worse ways to begin the season. Consider Chivas USA, the MLS eyesore which lost its opener to Columbus at home, 3-0, in front of an announced crowd of 7,121. Oof.
Next for United: the RFK Stadium season debut next Saturday night at RFK Stadium against Real Salt Lake.