The Houston Dynamo 2 celebrated a return home to AVEVA Stadium Sunday night with a 1-0 victory over the Tacoma Defiance. The win snapped a three game losing streak for Houston and ended Tacoma's unbeaten run at nine games. Marcelo Palomino's goal in the final minute of regulation proved to be the difference make.
“They are exhausted right now. It was a long day," said Dynamo 2 head coach Kevin Bundy following the match. "I don’t want to say that they are but instead, we are relived. Tonight, the way we performed and getting three points - we deserve that. That was important for the group and that’s the way the players feel. I am proud of them and the battle, and energy even with the guys on the bench and the guys that came on – they all had the energy to come and get that win.”
The start of the game was delayed initially due to field conditions but once the opening whistle blew, Dynamo Dos was on the move. Forward Kyle Edwards in just his third game of the season nearly put Houston the board in the first half minute of play. His shot nearly capped a perfect long ball counter.
In the 10th minute, Edwards and fellow forward Jacob Evans played a little give and go inside the eighteen that forced Tacoma keeper Andrew Thomas to make a point blank save from close range.
Near halftime Houston had another go at goal but Papa N'Doye's header went just wide. N'Doye and Edwards would combine for another dangerous moment late in the match but the effort pushed just wide.
Houston fired off 13 shots to Tacoma's five. Dynamo Dos keeper Andrew Pannenburg was forced to make just one save in the match. Pannenburg earned his first clean sheet of the season with a little help from the crossbar in the 68th as Tacoma's Giogir Manoungui had the Defiance's best chance.
Despite multiple opportunities to score on this night, Houston needed just one and Palomino delivered. Midfielder Juan Castilla drew a foul just outside the 18 yard box as time ticked away and Palomino served the free kick inside the far post for the only goal of the match.
“It feels great, there are few words to describe it, it feels great for the team, for the staff and the club," said the smiling Argentine international about the game's only goal. "Everyone on the field that came in, that started, they really grinded it out and really worked hard. Maybe we didn’t finish our chances, some things weren’t going our way, but that goal was just kind of a relief and a tiny reward for the work that the whole team and club put in.”
The win moved Houston into the fourth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference table four points clear of San Jose. The Dynamo 2 travel to San Jose for a meeting with Earthquakes 2 on Friday night. Kick-off is set for 9:30pm CT.