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Dynamo rout Impact, set up rematch with Red Bulls

OscarBoniekGarciaHoustonDynamo1-MontrealImpact (AP)


The Houston Dynamo sent a warning shot to the rest of Major League Soccer on Thursday. They mean business.

In a near-complete performance at BBVA Stadium on Halloween, the Houston Dynamo routed the Montreal Impact, 3-0, moving on to the Eastern Conference semifinals where they’ll play the New York Red Bulls. Dynamo forward Will Bruin scored a brace to lead his side to victory as the Impact finished the game with eight men after three second-half red cards.

Impact forward Marco Di Vaio, who had a frustrating night along with the rest of his squad, was whistled for being offside twice inside five minutes. Yet in the 16th minute, it was the host Dynamo who found the breakthrough.

Bruin, who dropped deep to receive a pass, dribbled into space before finding teammate Ricardo Clark outside of the box. Clark held up the ball well and played a nifty back-heel pass into Bruin’s path, which took the 25-year-old forward into the box. Once there, Bruin only had to set himself before sending a curling strike past Impact goalkeeper Troy Perkins for the lead.

In the 26th minute, Dynamo midfielder Oscar Boniek Garcia dribbled between three Impact defenders and just as he entered the penalty area, Impact midfielder Hernan Bernardello took down Garcia, giving referee Mark Geiger no choice but to point to the spot. One minute later, Garcia put the penalty kick away to give his side a two-goal lead.

Impact head coach Marco Schallibaum made an interesting decision to start Nelson Rivas in place of Alessandro Nesta in central defense, despite the fact that Rivas didn’t play in a game all season. Rivas was shown a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on Giles Barnes, foreshadowing more events in the second half involving Rivas.

The Impact nearly cut the deficit in half two minutes before time as Di Vaio timed a run to perfection and tried to chip Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall, but the veteran goalkeeper made himself big and parried away the chip attempt.

A second clumsy if not dangerous challenge from Rivas saw him immediately shown a second yellow card and subsequent red card in the 70th minute, reducing the Impact to ten men while they still trailed by two. And only two minutes later, Bruin capitalized on an error from Impact defender Matteo Ferrari, stealing the ball away from him, rounding Perkins, and scoring into an open net to put the match away.

The game took a nasty turn late as emotions boiled over on both sides, with three cards being shown in the 89th minute. The Impact came off much worse from a scuffle near the corner flag, as Marco Di Vaio and Andres Romero were each dismissed, while Corey Ashe of the Dynamo was shown a yellow card.

One minute later, Geiger put the whistle to his lips, ending the contest and condemning the Impact to their seventh loss in the last ten matches. The Dynamo meanwhile will host the Red Bulls on Sunday and travel to Red Bull Arena next Wednesday, facing a team that swept the season series for the first time in club history.


  1. I know there are lots of excuses but the attendance was poor. We will see on Sunday if this was just a fluke. My guess it has everything to do with the midweek game on 4 days notice. People in Houston dont do much on weekdays. Too hard to get around the city. If they do, it needs to be well planned out in advance.

    • Still hurt, but I’m a little surprised. They missed him and Bernier big time. Paponi, Romero and Pisanu are all inadequate. Bernardello is a bad DCM. Wenger is very frustrating and does nothing to help DiViao.

      This team is a work in progress, but not too bad for year two.

  2. Maybe it’s my RBNY glasses, but I see last night’s result less as an indication of Houston suddenly getting into gear and more as an extension of Montreal’s horrific form over the last six weeks or so. Since September 14, and counting last night’s game, Montreal had one win, one draw, and seven losses against MLS opponents, and was outscored 17-5. What’s the French word for “nosedive”?

    • They didn’t have Bernier and left out Nesta. I think some of these veteran-focused teams are quite different if all the veteran pieces aren’t in place.

      Bernardello looked like some chunky guy who should be playing DM in a men’s league. Wenger was leaving Di Vaio without support. Rivas kept committing silly fouls and the CBs were getting beat basically route 1.

      It felt to me like a team weakened by attrition.

      • All true. But given their recent form, would those players have made a difference? It almost seems as if the coach was rolling the dice to see if he could jump-start the team, and lost.

      • I’m a believer in personnel as an end in itself. You start running out a weaker set of players and your form follows. I hadn’t followed Montreal closely but had a decent idea who was on the roster, and was like where are x, y, and z….and who is this yokel at DM, what’s Wenger doing out there, etc.?

      • Hasn’t Nesta been pretty bad this year? What I’ve heard is that they were better without him than with (though that’s not saying much).

  3. Didn’t catch the whole game, but what I saw was pretty impressive from Houston. It was actually some of the best passing I’ve seen from an MLS team. How did this team finish so low in the table? I’m actually really looking forward to the semifinal playoff rounds as there seem to be alot of evenly matched opponents. Too bad (for me) the west coast games all start so late. If the midweek games don’t even start until 10pm or later, then I can’t watch. I know not everyone is old like me with kids and work and blah blah but it sux I cant ever seem to watch Portland or Seattle.

    • In a word: finishing. The Dynamo usually get their deadballs and crosses but they have one streaky forward (Bruin), one prospect forward (Johnson), one converted midfielder (Barnes), and then a bunch of O-30s like Ching, Weaver, and Cummings who don’t carry their weight. So you’ll see many balls into the box but many missed shots also.

      I’m hoping we can get rid of some of the veterans and bring someone in with speed who can finish to pair Bruin.

  4. Montreal looked terrible. As the season progressed, and Nesta started to show his age, the defensive line just seemed to get a little worse each game. The Rivas decision was eyebrow raising. Sure Lefevre made at least one mistake every time he played, but at least he had a little chemistry built up.

    Bernadello has been a disappointment. He is forever stopping in play to request a foul be called on the opposition. he makes several fantastic passes forward, but seems to make short passes that only create problems for his team mates.

    I hate a situation of revolving door coaches, and I know Bernier was injured, but having Warner and Wenger in the starting 11 on the most important game in club history while Felipe and Arnaud are on the bench simply makes no sense.

    Houston, on the other hand, looked very good; better than where they ended up in the table. They will be in tough against New York, but even as an Impact supporter, I think i will be pulling for them.

    I know it was Halloween, but what was the deal with the attendance last night. that was embarassing for the league.

    • Yes, Halloween but also widespread flooding across town. Houston school district cancelled all athletic events and practices due to the situation. It was cleared out by game time but a rough day for people depending on where you live.

    • Until the late afternoon it was pouring rain in Houston, had done so for two days, and there was spotty street flooding. Your average fan probably wasn’t hawking the weather forecasts to see the exact hour the front was going to pass to know it would be gone in time. I took a hedged bet the field was fine and the stands dry and they were, but you didn’t know that walking up…..and add in they started selling tickets just 2 weeks ago.

      Rivas went over the back of the Dynamo player at an awkward angle. So bad Dynamo player was bent over at middle. Debatable yellow but I see it called sometimes.

      • My comment on rivas was a little misleading. I thought the first yellow was more than justified (could have been a red too). The second was a little week, but understandable because of the first. I question the Impact using the guy in the first place.

        The antics at the end were dissapointing. I understand the frustration. the kick in the corner looked a lot worse that it was, but totally uncalled for. Smart to end the game then and there for sure.

      • I was surprised not to see Nesta. I don’t know the Impact’s personnel too well but the defense was soft, with the exception of occasional plays by Camara. Irony to me was Houston can often be soft and positional like that and they were hustling, covering for each other, and getting stuck in, on down to Corey Ashe.

        Looked worse than it was? I was a couple decks up from the spot it happened. We go to shield the ball, he slams into the guy from behind at a rate designed to knock him over and then takes a pretty wound up kick into the ball, knowing full well where it’s likely to go. He wanted to end the shield fast and he may have wanted to take an early shower — in light of the inevitable result by that point — based on the way he went about it.

        Up to a point I don’t blame him, he ran hard and had his chances, and my impression from many plays was he was not properly supported. One play he wins a ball in the corner, Wenger just sits in the box, doesn’t show to the ball, Di Vaio plays a leading pass towards the 6, he’s so stuck in concrete he can’t move to it. He was kind of doing it by himself.

        But I thought it was truly dumb because the result was decided and this can only result in a suspension for the new season. Take your lumps and talk to the coach about next year’s team.

      • It was definitely a red card. Wjhen i first saw it, I thought he had got him straight on in the groin. Then I realized that he kinda cleated the ball more than anything.

        Romero has had decent spurts this season. the team simply can’t mak its mind up about who they want to play on the wings. It is Mapp and …. Paponi, Pisanu, Nyassi are all just passable. Blake Smith actually looked good when he got into some games. Needs seasoning for sure, but there is a future there.

        I think they need to re-think the idea of Wenger as a forward. He came out of the draft as someone who was supposed to be an option at any position. I say let’s see what he can do as a centre back.

  5. Thorough collapse by Montreal over the last month or more. The coach’s job should probably be in danger, judging from the utter loss of form, lack of discipline, and bizarre lineup decisions. The Houston fans must be pretty savvy, because it seems they knew Montreal was going to be unwatchable, and elected to stay home.

  6. For all the talk of how the wheels were coming off in Seattle, this was a textbook implosion. You saw it in the body language of the impact players during the penalty shot. They knew they were going to lose. That’s on each of them for not digging deeper, but this was also on the coach. The subs he made were suspect, and the fact that he didn’t do more at the half to check the boiling frustration that was inevitably going to lead to red cards…

    All around very poor. Congrats to Houston, but NYRB will be a much tougher test.

  7. Houston looked very good in this game; moved the ball around nicely and worked hard to win it back when the lost it. Montreal looked like they were completely disinterested.

    The surprise for me, however, was how empty that stadium was. Shocking. I really think MLS needs to temper their expansion expectations

    GO RED BULLS!!!!

      • That really does not mean much when you think about recent form. Montreal’s recent form has been pretty bad and they just squeaked into the play-offs.

      • Much as I’d like to agree, I went to last night’s game b/c we won our home games and Montreal won theirs and so I thought the seed and site favored us. We were also the higher seed. Someone pointed out earlier this season Saputo is wider and better suited to their style, more exposing of our defense. I don’t think we can play 30 yards from backline to backline like that, in Saputo.

        In contrast, NYRB has beaten us in BBVA twice in a few months and it wasn’t even close. Any Given Sunday and I wish us luck, but it’s not a favorable matchup.

    • It’s going to be interesting. I’m an NY fan, but Petke faces a real challenge now in that Kinnear has seen the Red Bulls twice lately and can try to gameplan for them. Petke’s team will have to be ready. Petke has done an incredible job tactically after the start of the season though, so I expect him to prepare well.

  8. Back to the drawing board for the mtl. That defense is so pathetic. That last goal by bruin was a great effort by him but for Ferrari that was horrific. Then came the double reds. Stay classy Montreal.

  9. Houston connected their passes well and more often than usual in the final third. Would like to see a continuation of that style, utilizing the passing abilities of Clark, Garcia, Davis, Barnes, Bruin. Not really Kinnear’s bread and butter (relying on set plays, crosses in from the flanks) but he has the personnel to deviate from that style now.. Rivas, DiVaio, Romero unfortunately classless choices, no integrity, low mentality.

    • It’s funny how no one seems to have noticed how the Dynamo have changed over the years. We still have a reputation as a hard-fouling physical team, but that is a legacy of the Cochrane/Robinson duo we used to have in center d, along with Rico Clark when he was less technical; we are actually one of the softer teams in the league now.

      We haven’t relied on set plays in a couple years; I don’t know the stats but I would guess we are in the bottom third of teams in the league in terms of scoring on set pieces. Passing is our thing–we have quietly been one of the best passing and best possessing teams in the league for some time now. Perhaps too much so, as often the cry around the stadium is for someone to stop passing and actually take a shot.

      The Dynamo have changed a lot these past few years, and yet no one seems to have noticed.

      • Houston tied for 4th on goals from set pieces this year.

        That said, I agree with your assessment… it’s something I’ve been noticing as well. Then again, whoever thought we’d see Dom Kinnear deploy a 4-3-3 Dom like he did several times last season?

    • I agree but then you need the striking to finish the midfield play. Not everyone is going to let you combo play them right up the middle so they need strikers to finish the crosses and deadballs.

  10. “I hate MLS. No one goes to the games, foreigners acting classless…it’s just not fun.”

    “No man, it’s not like that anymore. There’s a playoff game tonight in Houston. You should watch and see.”

  11. Looked like a penalty to me but honestly Toronto were embarrasing Rivas should have been gone after his first arm to the face incident, and all that nonsense at the end, seriously?

  12. Wow Montreal. All that trash talk after that 5-0 rout, then you’re straight classless in the playoffs? Literally tried to kick a Dynamo player in the ass. Pathetic. Haven’t liked Montreal since that BS Ching situation, but this feels nice.

    On to the beasts of NY. I’m not sure of our chances against the RB. Those boys are killing it right now. Part of me is even rooting for them. Petke is no doubt my Coach of the Year vote. Nonetheless, I’m Dynamo first. ORANGE CRUSH!!!

    Can’t wait for that game.

    • Dynamo fan here… Definitely not arguing the dismissals at the end, but it looked to me like Romero was trying to petulantly dislodge the ball from between Ashe’s legs, not kick him in the butt. That said, based on what did happen, the card was correct.

    • You should provide anaesthetic or foreplay for what he did. He shoves him over, ball pops loose and then he kicks it into him. No real excuse because the whistle’s gone already and he’s jarred it loose already.

      The odd thing to me was it was sufficiently violent that he’ll likely be suspended a few games next season. It was the act of someone not coming back….except he is, option exercised.

  13. No choice but to point to the spot? Don’t know about that. I thought he had lost the ball before the contact. Not that it would have made a difference. Montreal’s back line was horrid beyond belief.

      • That’s the obvious question but to claim it was outside of the box would be reaching; it would be a stretch. To claim it was inside the box is much less of a stretch. For me, it was inside the penalty area and I believe the replay shows that. Also, notice how the rest of the Impact players weren’t complaining like Bernardello was.

    • As a USSF referee myself, the location of the ball matters not. The Laws of the Game clearly state a free kick is to to be taken at the spot of the infraction. In the case of a direct free kick foul committed by the defending team inside of their own penalty area, the restart would be a penalty kick.

      I don’t know what you “don’t know about”. It’s clearly stated in black and white. The location of the ball does not matter.


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