Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIPhotos.com
Dwayne DeRosario's New York Red Bulls debut started as well as he and his new team could have hoped, with a skillful assist on his first touch. Unfortunately for the Red Bulls, that moment of brilliance was one of the few the Red Bulls could muster.
DeRosario's long-range pass set up a Dane Richards goal, but Houston responded immediately when Cam Weaver beat Bouna Coundoul to a ball outside the penalty area and chipped the over-aggressive Red Bulls goalkeeper in a 1-1 draw at Red Bull Arena.
Despite all the stars on the field for New York, Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall stole the show, making a handful of clutch saves to help Houston escape New Jersey with a point despite a second-half surge by the Red Bulls.
Houston took advantage of a slow start by New York to nearly take a first-half lead on a few different occasions. A diving Coundoul save on a Geoff Cameron shot saved one goal while a Ching volley caromed off the crossbar.
New York's offense was stagnant in the first half with Mehdi Ballouchy struggling to make an impact, and with Thierry Henry continuing his lackluster early-season form.
Things changed dramatically in the second half, after DeRosario replaced Ballouchy at halftime. DeRosario set up Richards for the opening goal and was an effective distributor during his 45 minutes of action.
DeRosario's performance was made more impressive by the fact that he hadn't trained with the team yet. He arrived from Toronto on Saturday morning and met his new teammates just two hours before Saturday's match.
"You’ve seen how good these guys are and it’s a different style of play, but they like to move the ball around," DeRosario said. "I like the rhythm they play with and I think I can fit in quite nicely, but of course you have to work in position and at the end of the day you have to do your job."
"I think he changed the game in the second half with his final pass for the first goal," Backe said of DeRosario. "And also the way he controlled our game from the go left, go right, to the straight passes, very comfortable on the ball. He will definitely be a key player for us."
Houston kept numbers back late in the match to try and hold onto the tie, and Hall made Weaver's goal stand up with a handful of clutch saves.
"It’s a point gained, especially coming from behind as well," said Dynamo head coach Dom Kinnear. "We responded as quick as we did. I’m not too thrilled with the goal we gave up, but then the response from us was great.
"I thought we broke pretty good a couple times there, could have been better there for us, but we did have some tired legs. But overall, pretty pleased with a point there."