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A crazy night in Houston
Monday, 02 August 2010
The Dynamo extended its streak of winless league games to eight but you’d have never known from the crowd’s reaction at the end of the game. A late Brian Mullan goal salvaged a point for Houston as the 10-man team drew the New York Red Bulls and Thierry Henry in his MLS debut 2-2.

The game’s first opportunity to come didn’t take long and it fell to the Dynamo after eight minutes. Lovel Palmer worked some space at the top of the box from a Brad Davis corner and rifled a half volley which New York keeper Bouna Coundoul did well to save. The rebound fell right to Adrian Serioux’s feet but the defender skied an easy opportunity into the stands.

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It wouldn’t be long before the Red Bulls would make him pay. Henry collected a long diagonal ball in the corner beating Serioux to the ball and working some space before delivering a cross into the box. Fellow forward Juan Pablo Angel was there and despite what looked to be a foul on defender Eddie Robinson and a hint of a handball, the Colombian DP bundled the ball into the net from close range putting NY ahead 1-0.

The Angel-Henry combination threatened the Men in Orange throughout the game. In the first half alone, Henry had two golden opportunities, one of which was a 1v1 against Tally Hall that he could only hit wide.

Danny Cruz found himself in acres of space after getting the benefit of the doubt on his tackle to win the ball. With a number of options at his disposal, the midfielder opted for a clever ball across the top of the box behind his primary runners however a poor first touch led to chaos in the box.

Eventually, the ball fell to Joseph Ngwenya with his back to goal who was then promptly fouled from behind inside the penalty box. Davis would step up and send Coundoul the wrong way tying the game 1-1.

Later in the half, the Orange would miss a golden opportunity of their own to take the lead. After receiving a long ball in the box, forward Brian Ching showed his skill and veteran savvy with a delicate, quick first touch that took the ball away from his body and created space for himself. When the Red Bull defender made a play for a ball that was never there, the only possible outcome was the Dynamo’s second penalty of the game.

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Unfortunately, Davis couldn’t make it two for two as he skied his PK horribly into the second deck of Robertson Stadium. It would get worse for the Dynamo just before the end of the first half as the curse of the MLS referee would come to punish the home side.

Palmer was sent off with a straight red after what seemed to be an extremely innocuous challenge on a 50-50 ball in the Red Bulls’ half. Nonetheless, La Naranja would enter the locker room tied at 1 but down a man.

The early parts of the second half were predictably controlled by New York as they took advantage of Houston’s 10-man team, allowing the Angel-Henry combo to hurt the Dynamo again. Clever cris-crossing runs by Angel and Dane Richards opened up space for Angel on the right, where Henry found him in space. With Serioux struggling to keep up, Angel blasted the ball past Hall and the Red Bulls had their lead again.

Rather than go for the killer third goal, New York elected to cede possession and play on the counter attack for the remainder of the match. The result was a lot of Dynamo possession, a few chances, but most importantly, a belief that the equalizer was within reach. A late substitution, Brian Mullan, headed a perfect cross from Andrew Hainault into the net causing pandemonium in the stands and on the field.

While the crowd was going nuts, two fans went a little crazy themselves as they ran onto the pitch and jumped on top of Henry as he prepared for the restart. All in all, a crazy night which will definitely be remembered.