A pair of late goals from Houston Dynamo midfielders Ricardo Clark and Boniek Garcia sent the New England Revolution to a 2-0 loss on Saturday night in the club’s first-ever visit to BBVA Compass Stadium.
Brian Ching came off the bench to help set up both goals, picking up the secondary assists on Clark’s opener in the 77th minute and Garcia’s insurance strike deep into stoppage time. Both goals were generated from right-wing crosses as Clark finished a low feed from Brad Davis and Garcia volleyed home a looping cross from Warren Creavalle.
The win kept Houston (13-8-10, 49 pts.) in the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of the Columbus Crew with three games remaining. For New England (7-16-8, 29 pts.), it was a fifth consecutive road loss.
Benny Feilhaber returned to the Revolution’s starting lineup for the first time since Sept. 1 as one of four changes to the squad which played to a 1-1 draw with the New York Red Bulls last weekend, but goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth retained his spot between the pipes for a second straight game.
Feilhaber had the game’s first real chance in the 18th minute when he curled a 25-yard free kick over the wall and toward the upper left corner, forcing Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall into a quality save. Moments later Darrius Barnes had a bid but couldn’t control Dimitry Imbongo’s volley across the face of goal, while Imbongo’s immediate follow-up was cleared away.
The majority of the chances continued to come from distance in a relatively uneventful first half, with Hall making a pair of simple saves on efforts from Imbongo and Clyde Simms, and Shuttleworth diving to his left to stop a low drive from Calen Carr.
Carr threatened again in the 58th minute when he was played into the right side of the box but his shot flashed high and wide of the near upper corner. One minute later Jerry Bengtson went close with a header at the other end, bouncing an effort wide of the right post from Fernando Cardenas’ left-wing cross.
Shuttleworth produced a stunning save in the 73rd minute to temporarily keep the game scoreless. Ching’s clever pass sent Will Bruin into the left side of the box and the Dynamo forward cut inside to open up space for a shot. Bruin’s low effort was headed inside the far post but Shuttleworth reacted quickly to push the shot wide.
There was nothing the Revs goalkeeper could do in the 77th minute, however, as Clark finally broke the deadlock with a deft finish. Ching put Davis down the right channel and the Houston winger delivered a cross with his weaker foot. Clark got the slightest of touches on the cross, guiding the ball off the far post and into the back of the net.
Shuttleworth came up with a string of fine saves as the Dynamo poured on the pressure after the opener but the home side eventually produced a second in stoppage time. Ching sent Creavalle down the right wing and the defender’s looping cross reached Garcia at the back post, where the Honduran finished with a sumptuous full volley.
The Revs will be on the road again next weekend when they head to PPL Park for a meeting with the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, Oct. 6.