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In a hard fought, physical encounter in Houston, the New England Revolution fell to the Dynamo 2-0 on Saturday Night. Ricardo Clark scores the winning goal in a vital match for Houston's playoff chances.
On a night where it looked like the rain and a stubborn Revolution side were going to be good enough to earn a deserved draw, the Houston Dynamo found a way to manufacture a game winner and went on to defeat the Revolution 2-0.
While the match was marred by horrible playing conditions as well as overly physical play for most of the match, New England gave the Dynamo all they could handle on the night and seemed to relish their opportunity to play spoiler.
In a first half played almost entirely in driving rain, the Revolution looked organized at the back, and created enough momentum offensively to create the two best chances of the first half.
Benny Feilhaber stood over a free kick opportunity in the 18th minute just outside Dynamo box and unleashed a curling effort that seemed destined for the upper 90, but a late reacting Tally Hall recovered just in time to parry it away.
Darrius Barnes had a chance to score in consecutive matches a few moments later when a bit of a scramble in the box found the ball falling to Dimitry Imbongo, whose driven cross found a wide open Barnes in front of a wanting net, but the defender couldn't find the right footing to bury the chance.
With the rain reaching near-monsoon levels as the first half wore on the quality of play suffered, with several half-chances created due to slips and poor footing.
New England created the first true chance of the second half as well, when Fernando Cardenas found good open space down the left flank and served up an excellent cross to the back post to Jerry Bengtson, but the Honduran's resulting header was wide of the Dynamo net.
The match picked up in pace around the 62nd minute after a brief skirmish at the top of the Houston box while the teams lined up for a Revolution free kick. While Dimitry Imbongo and Will Bruin were both cautioned for their involvement, it ratcheted the intensity of the match up a few clicks, which resulted in an entertaining final stanza.
After several key saves from Shuttleworth as well as a few solid blocks from the defense, the Revolution dam finally broke in the 77th minute when Brad Davis unlocked the back line and found a streaking Ricardo Clark whose perfectly-placed shot deflected off of the far post and into the back of the net. Shuttleworth had no chance on the shot, and with only 12 minutes to play, the Revs found themselves trailing.
Unfortunately, instead of inspiring the Revs down the stretch, the goal actually swung the momentum heavily in Houston's favor, and after a long stretch of play dominated by the home side, the Dynamo found their second goal and put the match on ice.
With the Revs back four heavily stretched, Houston unleashed the perfect counter attack, and it was Boniek Garcia playing the part of benefactor, burying a full volleyed shot past Shuttleworth off of a perfectly placed cross.
The whistle blew giving Houston the win, propelling the Dynamo back into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference ahead of Columbus, who sits one point back.