Sorry about the headline. I still haven’t gotten used to the name. BBVA Stadium, I could do. Compass Park – no problem. BBVA Compass Stadium is so many syllables (nine). I expect the name to go on forever. BBVA Compass Park at Houston Dynamo Stadium. Or maybe BBVA Stadium and Compass Park. Nine is either too much or not enough. It just isn’t right.
But those concerns are five months olds. After last night, Houston’s living in the now, having taking three points from Real Salt Lake to jump the third in the East. The Dynamo have still played more games than their closest competitors, but as we mentioned last night, it’s a big win. Not only is it over RSL – one of the league’s most well-respected teams – but it also comes after Houston saw themselves pulled into the race of the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spots.
And Houston got the win when they were decidedly not themselves. Without Oscar Boniek Garcia (away on international duty), they’re a much different side. They lack dynamism in midfield – lacking that extra man who can pop up anywhere and reek havoc. The absence forced Dominic Kinnear to play a rather stoic 4-2-3-1/4-5-1. Calen Carr underneath Will Bruin just wasn’t working, yet good defender, patience, as some late night fortune still got Houston full points.
For Real Salt Lake, it’s a tough loss, if for no other reason than the final whistle was so close. RSL’s bench thought it should have been blown, but no matter the time of the game, Nick Rimando can’t give up a penalty like he did in the 93rd minute. When he left his feet, Rimando relinquished control of the play, helpless to avoid the game-deciding penalty.
Rimando’s decision leaves RSL with some work to avoid being passed in the West by Seattle. The Sounders are two points back with three matches in hand, with a Saturday match against Chivas USA likely to vault Sigi Schmid’s side into second place.
It’s a tough place to land for a team that had the better for play in the first half, but unable to translate their advantage onto the scoresheet, RSL leaves Houston empty-handed. Here are the highlights: