The Houston Dynamo waited until the 55th minute to bring Hector Herrera onto the pitch for his MSL Houston debut. From that moment, it was a whole different match in the 50th edition of the Texas Derby.
For weeks the Houston Dynamo organization hyped the debut of Hector Herrera. Fans bought in and purchased tickets ensuring an enthusiastic crowd the likes of which general manager Pat Onstad had not seen since his days between the pipes for the Dynamo. No current Houston player had ever seen PNC Stadium packed like it was Saturday night. The fans came expecting to see Herrera on the pitch at the opening whistle and then he wasn't and the crowd went nearly silent in disappointment. That is until the 55th minute.
Herrera entered and suddenly the players had pride in their stride. Herrera entered and the 21,000 plus were energized to a raucous level. Herrera entered and FC Dallas was in trouble.
Trailing 1-0 since the 27th minute, Herrera brought instant belief that the game could be turned around in the final 36 plus minutes and it was. After failing to capitalize on golden opportunities in the 11th, 20th and 24th minute and then falling behind in the 27th minute, it looked like all was lost at least for the next 28 minutes that is.
For weeks, fans have been told, Herrera is a player who can elevate his team and elevate he did. Rookie forward Thor Uhlfarrson entered with Herrera and 14 minutes later his thunderous right foot leveled the match.
"Hector is going to make everyone better, he's not the solution. Hector brings a lot of leadership," said Dynamo head coach Paulo Nagamura following the match. "A lot of natural leadership. We need to put him in a spot to play his best soccer."
Houston had a goal disallowed without the benefit of the VAR technology in which the side judge ruled Fafa Picault was off and influenced the play as Sam Junqua's header came in his direction. That sent the crowd into a frenzy and set the stage for history making dramatics.
Ten minutes of stoppage time were added and in the third minute, Jesus Ferreira beat Dynamo keeper Steve Clark from close range and Dallas looked to have pulled off another miraculous finish against Houston.
Herrera and company would not be denied. As the closing minutes of stoppage time wound down, Darwin Quintero let loose a shot that FCD keeper Maarten Paes failed to control and Dynamo defender Teenage Hadebe in attack mode finished the latest non penalty goal in MLS history to earn the draw.
With the result, the Houston Dynamo remain unbeaten at home on Saturdays in 2022. They improve to a win, two draws and a loss when trailing at home at the half.