Defensive-minded D.C. United held off the Houston Dynamo for 80 minutes Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium, then conceded twice late to surrender a 2-0 result that extends their winless history in Houston.
A James Riley own goal and a fine Ricardo Clark blast were enough to give the Dynamo the full three points, a deserved result they were nearly denied thanks to the sterling shotstopping of D.C. Goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who saved a Brad Davis penalty kick in the first half.
Riley was tracking Clark on the corner kick and beat him to the Brad Davis ball. Unfortunately, his header flew into the top shelf of Hamid’s goal to surrender what would have been a hard-earned draw.
Clark sealed the victory in the 89th minute when he fired an angled finish into the far upper corner after second-half sub Warren Creavalle worked to keep the ball alive on the end line.
The Dynamo extend their home unbeaten streak to 26 games, three behind Real Salt Lake’s record of 29, and still have yet to lose an MLS match at their new home.
Hamid’s first bit of heroics came in the 40th minute after Clark earned a penalty kick after being brought down by Chris Korb. The Houston midfielder broke free from the D.C. back line after Brad Davis and Will Bruin played him through.
Korb, recovering for the fallen Brandon McDonald, collided with Clark as he entered the 18-yard box, causing referee Baldomero Toledo to point to the spot. On replay, the foul looked to have occurred outside the box, and the man in the middle produced a yellow card for Korb, who very easily could've drawn a straight red.
Hamid, however, bailed Korb and D.C. Out, saving Davis’ penalty and then collecting the rebound attempt from Clark.
Chris Pontius nearly turned things completely in the visitors' favor minutes later, but his viciously-hit free kick clanged off the crossbar, sparing the Dynamo a truly unfortunate turn of events.
To round out the late first-half mayhem, Korb made up for his conceded penalty clearing a 44th minute Bruin header off the line on a corner kick and Hamid kicked in again with a spectacular lunging save, getting his paw on a Giles Barnes blast from two yards out when a goal seemed certain.
The second half lacked the energy of the first, with both teams struggling to put passes together and find that killer ball in the final third. Pontius had a quick look in the 60th minute when Perry Kitchen hit a 30-yard ball to the opposite end line that Nick DeLeon raced to keep in, but his header was high and wide.
Six minutes later Bruin had another shot to break the deadlock when he broke free on a corner kick, but his header was wide. Eventually, though, the own goal and Clark would take bring all three points home for Houston.
The Dynamo have a quick turnaround for their next game action, as they kick off their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal duel with Mexico's Santos Laguna Tuesday at home. D.C. welcome Real Salt Lake in their home opener next Saturday.