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FC Dallas beats Dynamo 1-0

Aug 7, 2009 - 4:07 AM By AMIT KALUSKAR STATS MLS Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas (STATS) - Jeff Cunningham continued his hot streak and scored the game's only goal in the 20th minute to lead FC Dallas to a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo on Thursday night.

Cunningham has scored eight goals in his past five games after scoring only one during the first 15.

Dallas (6-9-5) won consecutive games for the first time this season and recorded its second straight clean sheet after a 6-0 win at home against Kansas City last Saturday in which Cunningham netted four goals.

"We were confident going into the game," Dallas' Drew Moor said. "We've started to put some of the missing pieces together. Back-to-back wins gives you a boost."

Cunningham beat Houston's Geoff Cameron to a loose ball and dribbled past two defenders before firing a shot from outside of the penalty arc and into the right corner of the net. It was Cunningham's 113th MLS goal, leaving him one behind Chivas USA's Ante Razov for second place on the all-time list.

"He's so experienced he creates a lot of havoc for the opposition," FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman said. "We're starting to look for him a lot more, he's been extremely confident."

Houston (10-6-5) missed an opportunity to extend its six-point lead atop the Western Conference.

Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad had stopped Cunningham's penalty shot in the 13th minute after Bobby Boswell was called for a reckless foul on Cunningham. Onstad made a diving save to his right, and finished with two saves.

"From the first minute we didn't come out with energy and intensity," Houston midfielder Stuart Holden said. "They had the best set of play in the first 15-20 minutes, they're full of confidence."

Houston, which won the first two meetings between the clubs, played the final 20 minutes with 10 men after Brad Davis received a red card in the 73rd minute. Davis was awarded the red card after he got up off the bench on a dead ball.

"Drama that put the explanation point on a frustrating evening," Houston coach Dominic Kinnear said of the ejection. "It's unfair what happened to Brad, all he did was stand up I think the ref was too strict on the rule interpretation."

Dynamo captain Brian Ching left the game at halftime due to fatigue. Ching, the club's leading goal-scorer, was replaced by Kei Kamara.

"Just wanted to spare him," Kinnear said. "I think he (Ching) has had a stretch were had a lot of travel, he also takes a lot of physical beating when he plays."

FC Dallas will be without captain Pablo Ricchetti for its next game after he received his fifth yellow card of the season in the 22nd minute, triggering an automatic one-game suspension.

Dallas goalkeeper Dario Sala finished with one save to record his second straight shutout after missing 15 games with a knee injury he suffered April 15th.

"You can tell with Dario it's a different presence back there, there's no substitute for experience," Dallas midfielder Dax McCarty said.