The Houston Dynamo found a new way to lose on Sunday dropping an afternoon match in Portland falling 3-2 thanks to two penalty kicks called against them. It was the first for the team under interim head coach Wade Barrett. Considering how well the squad has been playing of late,Sunday’s loss was especially hurtful. The win at the official halfway mark of the season may have saved Portland’s season.
Houston built a 2-0 lead on goals by Will Bruin and Andrew Wenger. Both haven’t scored in eons but a more relaxed Bruin has said in recent days that he felt the goals were coming and his goal in the 30th minute not only gave Houston its two goal first half lead but rewarded the faith Barrett has shown in the fifth year forward. Wenger had scored just two minutes earlier.Both goals were assisted by Boniek Garcia and it appeared that Houston would pick up a road win marking another step in the right direction since the resignation of former coach Owen Coyle just a month ago.
Joe Willis replaced a dehydrated Tyler Deric between the pipes to start the second half in the nationally televised match on ESPN2. Nineteen minutes in and just past the hour mark, Lucas Melano found the back of the net for Portland and the lead was one. both sides continued to pressure and the Timbers got to the Houston defense in the 81st minute as defender David Horst is whistled for a handball on a service lofted into the box. Diego Valeri converted from the spot and the game was level.
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Valeri would get the game winner from the spot in stoppage time. The penalty kick came after a collision in the box between Willis and Melano was ruled as an intentional take down by referee Hilario Grajeda. Replays showed that Grajeda and his linesman with whom he conferred before making the call were wrong but it was too late.
Houston had been on a three game unbeaten streak under Barrett before Sunday’s defeat. The dynamo have a quick turnaround as they host Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night June 29th in a continuation of the U.S. Open Cup before returning to MLS action at home on Saturday night July 2, 2016 against the Philadelphia Union.