Dynamo top Rapids for second straight victoryJun 8, 2007 - 4:45 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The defending MLS champions are getting back on track.
Stuart Holden scored the winning goal in the 63rd minute as the Houston Dynamo defeated the Colorado Rapids, 2-1, in a rematch of last year's Western Conference Championship.
After compiling just two wins in their first eight games, the Dynamo have won two straight and may be returning to the form that led them to the MLS championship a year ago.
Holden tallied the decisive goal - his first of the season - moments after entering the game as a substitute in the 62nd minute. The midfielder took a feed from Kelly Gray at the top-right of the goal box and blasted a shot past goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul, who got a hand on the ball but could not stop it from sailing into the top-left corner of the net.
"That's twice. Last year, the only goal I scored was my first touch on the field and again this year," Holden said. "I guess I should come on for one minute, take a touch and get off the field."
Houston (4-5-1) has defeated Colorado (4-4-3) in each of the two meetings this season, as the Dynamo won the first match 3-1 on May 5. The teams' final regular-season meeting will be played August 11 in Colorado.
"We're ecstatic about this win," Houston midfielder Chris Wondolowski said. "Anytime you can pick up three points on a division opponent is fantastic. Colorado is ahead of us right now, so that makes it sweeter."
Houston was quick to open the scoring as Joseph Ngwenya tallied his second goal of the season just three minutes in. The breakaway goal was set up by a crisp through-pass from Brian Mullan who one-timed a ball from Wondolowski to Ngwenya, who was racing unguarded down the right side.
Ngwenya had no trouble beating Coundoul with a rolling shot into the left side of the goal.
"I think the work they put in the past, they are starting to get the results for the effort," Houston coach Dominic Kinnear said. "For me, Joseph Ngwenya was the best guy on the field tonight. I thought he was excellent ... not just his goal. The guys behind him played really well."
Colorado evened the game in the 12th minute on a penalty kick by Jose Cancela. The penalty kick was called after Houston's Eddie Robinson pulled down forward Conor Casey with a slide-tackle to the right of the goal.
Cancela shot softly and high to the center of the net to score on goaltender Zach Wells, who dove to his left in anticipation of the shot.
"Tonight we played slow. It was hot, and we didn't attack well the second half. We're not too happy (with our overall play)," Cancela said.
"We got out to an early lead and had an unfortunate penalty called against us," Kinnear said. "After that, they kind of controlled the game a little bit, but in the second half, I think we controlled the game more and were in their half. Great touch by Stuart on his first touch that he came on the field. Fantastic goal."
Both teams were without some regulars who are participating in the CONCACAF Gold Cup through June 24.
In addition to being without goaltender Pat Onstad, Houston did not have its three top scorers - forward Brian Ching, midfielder Ricardo Clark and midfielder Dwayne De Rosario. Colorado was missing forward Roberto Brown, who is second on the team in goals with three.
"Just missing four of our key guys, I know I'm going to be called upon," Holden said. "I know a lot of the young guys are going to see some minutes these upcoming games. I'm going to take every opportunity I get to prove that I belong in the first 11 and deserve to play more. Hopefully, if I keep contributing, it will happen."
HOUSTON 2 FINAL
Jun 7 11:24 PM
- MLS UPDATE
HOUSTON GOAL: Stuart Holden in the 64th minute
Rapids vs. DynamoJun 7 10:55 PM
HOUSTON 1 HALFTIME
Jun 7 10:18 PM
- MLS UPDATE
COLORADO PENALTY GOAL: Jose Cancela in the 12th minute
Rapids vs. DynamoJun 7 9:43 PM
- MLS UPDATE
HOUSTON GOAL: Joseph Ngwenya in the 3rd minute
Rapids vs. DynamoJun 7 9:33 PM
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