Houston manager Dominic Kinnear would surely have preferred to keep his main men on the bench for tonight CONCACAF Champions League match down at BBVA Compass Stadium in Texas.
The opportunity factor was high – but the games are coming fast and furious and MLS playoff positioning is the priority, and rest for the regulars is paramount.
So he left Oscar Boniek Garcia, Brad Davis and Will Bruin in the bench to start, but did turn to his top trio of attackers as second half subs. And they made the difference, helping to create a late goal as the Dynamo seized control of Group 1 with an important 2-1 win over Panama’s Arabe Unido.
The Panamanians scored early on penalty kick and only a big save from Tally Hall kept the Dynamo from going down 2-0 at home. Remember, in the new, smaller group format of this annual tournament, points are especially precious because there are fewer group stage matches. Thus, just one loss at home would do serious damage chances of advancing into next year’s elimination rounds.
But Cam Weaver scored after 22 minutes as the Dynamo fought off injury-stall theatrics from the bunkering visitors, not to mention Unido’s fairly dangerous counter attack.
Boniek Garcia came in at the half for Alex Dixon. Davis was soon on for Jason Johnson, and Bruin came in for the final 13 minutes in place of young forward Alexander Lopez. Houston was more assured in the second half, and it was the veteran Davis who fed Weaver for the game-winner.
The win was especially important to cinch off any lingering hurt from the franchise’s worst loss to date, a 5-0 spanking from Montreal in Canada last weekend.
Houston is back into MLS play Sunday at Chicago.
Heading into the their final UEFA Champions League Group B game, Manchester United hold their destiny in their own hands, but any slip-up could mean it’s Europa League on Thursday nights for Louis Van Gaal‘s men.
[ MORE: Champions League standings ]
The Red Devils would have advanced to the knockout stage with a victory over third-place PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday, but slumped to an ugly 0-0 draw instead.
[ MORE: Three things we learned from Man United 0-0 PSV ]
So, here’s all of the scenarios for the final matchday of the group stage, away to Wolfsburg, in which United would advance to the round of 16 advance:
- A Man United win will see Man United finish top of Group B
- A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV draw or loss (vs. CSKA Moscow), will see Man United finish second in Group B
- A Man United draw, coupled with a PSV victory, will see Man United finish third in Group B
- A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV loss, will see Man United finish second in Group B
- A Man United loss by more than one goal, coupled with a PSV draw, would see Man United finish third in Group B
- A Man United loss, coupled with a PSV win, would see Man United finish third in Group B
[ MORE: Champions League schedule ]
There are your scenarios for Man United as it’s pretty simple to break it down: Win, and they go through. Fail to win, and their fate is completely in the hands of PSV.
The Foxes are top of the Premier League and are led by a surging Jamie Vardy but how long can they keep shocking the world?
With six tough games coming up between now and the start of 2016, Claudio Ranieri‘s men will be pushed to their limit but so far this season they’ve been sensational and Vardy has equaled Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistlerooy’s record of scoring in 10-straight PL games.
[ MORE: Full PST Extra archive ]
Can he make it 11 in a row on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via Live Extra) when United visit the King Power Stadium? As for the Red Devils, they sit in second place and are just one point behind the flying Foxes’. Louis Van Gaal‘s men have certainly flown under the radar so far and our churning out wins at an impressive rate.
Jenna Corrado and I discuss that and more in the latest edition of PST Extra. Click play on the video above to see our chat in full.
Rog and Davo revel in another chapter of the Leicester City fairytale, break down Liverpool’s shock dismantling of Manchester City and discuss Arsenal’s slip against West Brom.
Listen to the latest pod by clicking play below.
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Joe Hart was forced to leave Manchester City’s 1-0 defeat to Juventus in UEFA Champions League play on Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, which he seemed to incur while making a spectacular one-on-one kick-save late in the second half.
[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]
Man City manager Manuel Pellegrini confirmed after the game that Hart’s injury is indeed a hamstring issue, and went on to say that he would need further tests once the team arrives back in Manchester to determine the severity and how long, if at all, City and England’s no. 1 would be out of action.
Man City, currently third in the Premier League on 26 points, will host eighth-place Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).