HOUSTON – The Houston Dynamo would not go quietly into the night.
Houston was minutes away from letting another three points slip away, but the Orange — behind a raucous BBVA Compass Stadium — prevailed against the LA Galaxy 3-2 after a 90th-minute goal from homegrown player Memo Rodriguez.
That well-known feeling of having three points left on the table entered Dynamo coach Wilmer Cabrera’s mind as the Galaxy leveled the game in the 85th minute.
Cabrera said his side has suffered similar situations this season but will not give up.
“That’s the key. We are a team that we know that we’re going to continue fighting for 90 minutes every game,” Cabrera said. “Today, we were rewarded with that third goal and the three points.”
Houston (3-3-2, 11 points) did in fact fight to the end and was rewarded when Romell Quioto, who put in a man-of-the-match performance, took a shot on goal that ricochet off the post. Rodriguez was there for the rebound and eventual game-winning goal.
The Dynamo weren’t the only one’s rewarded. The announced 22,320 in attendance at BBVA Compass Stadium were treated to a goal fest that got started right from kickoff.
Houston picked up where they left off in their last home game, when they dropped five goals on Toronto and started the scoring in the third minute.
A foul gave the Dynamo a free kick some 30 yards away from goal. Quioto stepped up and crossed the ball into the box. Alejandro Fuenmayor found himself wide open on the back post and the Venezuelan one-time a left-footed shot past Galaxy ‘keeper David Bingham.
But Fuenmayor and the Dynamo had to hold off on celebrating as the official initially waved off the goal due to an offside call. The ref signaled for VAR and the call was reversed, giving Fuenmayor his first MLS goal.
It’s the third goal this season the Dynamo score within the first five minutes of a home game.
“It’s just the desire to score,” Cabrera said of his team’s tenacity early in home games. “In Houston, we want to come and score goals because that’s what our players want to do. Because they’re built to do that and they’re aggressive in that aspect.”
The Galaxy (3-5-1, 10 points) struck back before the half through a counter. As much as Fuenmayor was glad to have scored, the centerback could have done more on the Galaxy’s equalizer.
L.A. midfielder Ola Kamara stole the ball from the Dynamo’s Darwin Ceren in midfield and led the counterattack. Kamara slipped a pass to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who rifled a left-footed shot that Houston keeper Joe Willis parried away.
Unfortunately for Willis, he parried it right to the back post, where Giovani dos Santos tapped it in after running past Fuenmayor.
But Houston took the lead again minutes into the second half. And much like the game’s first goal, it came off a Quioto set piece. Quioto sent a low shot in that took a deflection before hitting the back of the net.
The Galaxy again leveled the score in the 85th minute when dos Santos sent a cross into the penalty box. Kamara’s deft touch sent the ball past the goal line.
The tie didn’t last long before Rodriguez’s last-minute header sent the home crowd into a frenzy and streamers flew onto the field.
“It feels amazing. It feels just like my first goal probably even better,” Rodriguez said. “The team fought ’til the end. We knew coming in that the LA Galaxy were going to be an intense team, and we matched that and thankfully we got the three points.”
LA Galaxy head coach Sigi Schmid was proud of his team’s resilience to fight back and equalize the game but ultimately said the loss came down to concentration for giving up two early goals in each half.
As Houston gets back to its winning ways after dropping a tough one in Minnesota, Cabrera said tonight’s result was deserving not just for the fans but for his players.