By DAN KARELL
The Houston Dynamo have fallen on hard times recently, but maybe their fortunes are starting to change for the better.
Dynamo forward Will Bruin pounced on a mistake in second half stoppage time by D.C. United rookie defender Steve Birnbaum, finishing into an open net to give the Dynamo a dramatic 1-0 victory on Sunday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium. The win was the hosts first since May 17, breaking an eight game winless streak that included six losses and a goal differential of negative 13.
The match also represented the first starts for new Dynamo Designated Player signing DaMarcus Beasley and Honduran international Luis Garrido.
Though farther down in the standings to D.C. United, the Dynamo were dominant throughout the game, and nearly took the lead seven minutes in.
Dynamo forward Giles Barnes got around his defender and floated in a cross towards the back post in the seventh minute, finding the head of Bruin in the box. Bruin sent a header towards the far post the clanged off the crossbar, though it was a sign of things to come as D.C. United couldn’t handle Bruin’s presence in the box.
D.C. goalkeeper Bill Hamid came up huge throughout the match, making clutch saves off a header from Bruin and a close-range strike by Barnes to keep the score deadlocked at 0-0. In the 54th minute, Hamid came up big again as Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis cut in from the right wing and fired a low left-footed shot at the near post, though Hamid made a nice diving stop.
D.C. United’s best chance of the match came in the 58th minute, when a poor clearance by Jermaine Taylor fell right to Chris Rolfe, who controlled the ball and fired a shot on the half-volley towards Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall. Hall saw the shot the whole way and was able to parry it away from danger.
The Dynamo finally found their breakthrough in the first minute of second half stoppage time. A poor header towards his own net by D.C. United left back Taylor Kemp left Birnbaum in an awkward position, and he was unable to either clear the ball out of play or head the ball back to Hamid.
Dynamo substitute Omar Cummings pounced on the poor clearance from Birnbaum and with Hamid well out of position, slid the ball over to Bruin. Bruin one-timed a strike into the empty net to set off the celebrations at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Here are the game highlights: