Brazilian midfielder Michel worked his magic again on Wednesday night, bending in two decisive free kicks, both of which led to Kenny Cooper goals, as FC Dallas cruised past rival Houston Dynamo 3-0 at FC Dallas Stadium to reach the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals for the second time in three seasons.
Dallas will host the Portland Timbers on June 26.
As in the team’s regular-season meeting on March 17, when Dallas took a 2-0 lead on a pair of set-piece goals, Michel’s free kicks made the difference on Wednesday (despite 10 Houston corner kicks) in a game that was otherwise relatively even.
Dallas, playing an almost full-strength starting lineup (without Raul Fernandez and Blas Perez because of international duty and with David Ferreira on the bench) despite facing a league game on Saturday, almost took the lead in the 28th minute, but Eric Hassli’s chip was ruled offside.
Houston, meanwhile, left starters Tally Hall, Jermaine Taylor, Corey Ashe, and Giles Barnes – several of whom are coming back from nagging injuries – on the bench. Hall’s replacement, fifth-year pro Tyler Deric, who is highly regarded by the Dynamo and handled the team’s CONCACAF Champions League games last fall, joined the ranks of MLS goalkeepers who have struggled to deal with Michel’s delivery.
After a 25th-minute Michel corner kick got over Deric’s head before being cleared, the breakthrough came in the 38th minute. Bobby Boswell fouled Cooper on the left wing, and Michel whipped the ensuing free kick to the back post, where Andrew Jacobson headed it across the face of goal, allowing Cooper to tap the ball into an empty net.
Houston came out with increased urgency in the first 10 minutes of the second half, pushing its midfielders into the attack and creating two chances for Alex Dixon, both of which were deflected wide for corner kicks, and a reaching effort by rookie Jason Johnson, easily handled by Dallas goalkeeper Chris Seitz. Dynamo winger Andrew Driver, dangerous all night, sent in a teasing cross in the 53rd minute, but saw it deflected out for a corner kick.
Having weathered the storm, Dallas put the game away in the 59th minute, when Michel rifled a corner kick to the back post that again beat Deric and left Cooper with a point-blank header for a 2-0 Dallas lead.
Seitz was called into action several times in the final 30 minutes, including stops on Will Bruin in the 60th minute and Brian Ching in the 90th, preserving the shutout. Dallas made it 3-0 in the 76th minute when Deric punched away a cross at the top of the box, colliding with Jackson in the process, and Dallas right back Zach Loyd – who was excellent all night – calmly lobbed the ball over the stranded goalkeeper into the side netting to complete the rout.
Houston Dynamo 0:3 FC Dallas
FCD — Kenny Cooper 1 (Andrew Jacobson 1) 38
FCD — Kenny Cooper 2 (Michel 2) 59
FCD — Zach Loyd 1 (unassisted) 76
Houston Dynamo — Tyler Deric, Kofi Sarkodie, Ricardo Clark, Bobby Boswell, Mike Chabala, Warren Creavalle, Luiz Camargo, Alex Dixon (Cam Weaver 71), Jason Johnson (Omar Cummings 79), Will Bruin (Brian Ching 62), Andrew Driver.
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Corey Ashe, Giles Barnes, Jermaine Taylor.
FC Dallas — Chris Seitz, Zach Loyd, George John (Stephen Keel 88), Matt Hedges, Jair Benitez, Jackson, Michel (Bobby Warshaw 78), Andrew Jacobson, Fabian Castillo (David Ferreira 72), Eric Hassli, Kenny Cooper.
Substitutes Not Used: Kyle Zobeck, Bradlee Baladez, Jonathan Top, London Woodberry.
FCD — Fabian Castillo (caution) 68
Referee: Juan Guzman. Referee’s Assistants: Jonathan Johnson; Fabio Tovar. 4th official: Leszek Stalmach
Weather: Sunny-and-93 degrees
Shots: Houston 13, Dallas 11
Shots On Goal: Dallas 5, Houston 4
Saves: Dallas 4, Houston 2
Fouls: Dallas 9, Houston 8
Corner Kicks: Houston 10, Dallas 2
Offsides: Houston 2, Dallas 1