for this game

Red Bulls, Dynamo battle to a draw

Apr 12, 2009 - 6:44 AM HOUSTON (AP) -- It was a game marked by tough defense and aggressive play, but no matter how you slice it, the New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo still remain winless.

New York rookie goalkeeper Alec Dufty made a late save on a header by Houston's Brian Ching to preserve a 0-0 tie in a rematch of year's Western Conference semifinals Saturday night.

Despite the lack of goals, there was some on-field drama. Dufty, a third-stringer signed to a developmental contract before the season, was only in net because he had to replace starter Danny Cepero, who suffered a concussion just three minutes in following a head-to-head collision with Houston's Kei Kamara.

Jon Conway, New York's starting keeper last season, was serving the final game of a 10-game suspension for using a banned substance.

"It was a very hard game against a very good rival," said Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio. "It was unfortunate to lose Cepero in the first 10 minutes of the game, but we still had a lot of options. I am happy with the draw."

Dufty's save in the 88th minute was one of several late chances for the Dynamo (0-2-2). New York (0-2-2) has now failed to score in three road games this season.

Seth Stammler and Jorge Rojas had shots on goal in the first half for the Red Bulls, but couldn't get anything past goalkeeper Pat Onstad.

"We have a lot of young players who are still adapting to the game," said New York forward Juan Pablo Angel. "It was a difficult matchup without home-field advantage and we had a lot of pressure from the crowd."

The Dynamo had no such obstacles to overcome, but were unable to break through the Red Bulls defense.

"This was a tough game that was hard-fought," said Houston coach Dominic Kinnear. "We had a lot of chances to score, but we couldn't capitalize. We had great defense tonight. It was a very physical game, and we had great spirit and conditioning."

Just five months ago, the Red Bulls pulled out a 3-0 win at Robertson Stadium to advance to the 2008 conference finals. This season, neither club has looked much like a playoff contender.

"I am frustrated with the result," said Dynamo defender Wade Barrett. "We had a lot of chances to score, but our team is just not clicking. We need to work hard this week and play better next Sunday."

Houston's best chance came late when Corey Ashe sent in the ball that found Ching's head, but the rookie Dufty was up to the task and at least allowed the Red Bulls to come away with one point.

"It was a complicated game for both teams due to poor field conditions and the tough crowd pressure," said New York midfielder Jorge Rojas. "I am happy with the one point because the Dynamo is a great team."