MLS Soccer: New England Revolution 2, Houston Dynamo 0
MLS-best Revs use first-half goals from Ralston and Dube to extend unbeaten streak to six games
HOUSTON, Texas – Steve Ralston and Kheli Dube scored first-half goals and goalkeeper Matt Reis saved a late penalty kick, as the New England Revolution defeated the Houston Dynamo, 2-0, at Robertson Stadium on Thursday night.
New England (8-3-2, 26 pts.) extended its unbeaten streak to six games, going 5-0-1 over that stretch and matching the longest unbeaten run by any team in MLS this season. The Revolution also remained undefeated against the Dynamo (4-4-5, 17 pts.) in the all-time, regular-season series, going 3-0-3 in six meetings.
With the win, the Revs completed the two-game, regular-season sweep of the Dynamo, earning a slight measure of revenge over the club that’s defeated them in each of the past two MLS Cups. New England also defeated Houston, 3-0, in the season opener at Gillette Stadium on March 29.
The Dynamo out-shot the Revolution, 15-7, but managed to put just five of its shots on goal, while New England fired six on frame.
Houston almost got on the board just 20 seconds into the match when Brian Mullan got free in the right side of the box, but Reis got down well to save the low drive.
New England took the lead in the eighth minute, as Ralston scored his second goal in as many games and his third of the season. Dube allowed defender Amaechi Igwe’s throw-in to bounce over his shoulder, which helped him elude his defender and create a two-on-one situation in the box. The Zimbabwe native drew the last defender to him before playing the ball across the face of the goal for Ralston, who tapped into the empty net from inside the six-yard box.
The Dynamo came within inches of tying the score in the 26th minute. A scramble in the box resulted in Corey Ashe playing a hard cross through the penalty area, but his pass took a slight deflection and Geoff Cameron couldn’t make solid contact with his outstretched leg, as he poked the ball just wide.
Dube scored his team-leading fourth goal of the season in the 35th minute to extend the Revolution’s lead to 2-0. Mauricio Castro sent an out-swinging corner kick into the area, and before the ball hit the ground, Dube struck a full volley towards goal. The shot took a wicked bounce in front of Houston goalkeeper Tony Caig and ended up in the back of the net.
Reis maintained New England’s two-goal edge with a save on Mullan’s long-range blast four minutes before halftime.
Houston had the first good chance of the second half, but defender Craig Waibel’s volley attempt from 20 yards out went wide of the left post in the 57th minute.
Substitute Chris Wondolowski also narrowly missed putting the Dynamo on the board in the 73rd minute, lashing a left-footed shot just wide of the right post from outside the box.
The hosts had their best chance to score in the 82nd minute, when Michael Parkhurst was whistled for a foul on Franco Carracio at the top of the box and the Dynamo were awarded a penalty kick. Stuart Holden stepped up to take the spot kick, but Reis dove to his right to deny the effort and preserve the shutout.
Sainey Nyassi, who entered the game as a second-half substitute, had a chance to score a third goal for the Revs in the 89th minute when he was sent streaking down the left side from midfield. However, the 19-year-old’s effort was saved by Caig, who slid to block the shot as he rushed off his line.
Reis finished with five saves to earn his league-leading fifth shutout of the season.
The Revs will return home for their next match on Wednesday, June 18, when they will host the Eastern Conference rival New York Re