With Texas bragging rights on the line, the Houston Dynamo scored late and held off a late charge by San Antonio FC to secure a berth in the Round of 16 of the 2022 US Open Cup with a 1-0 win.
A sparse crowd witnessed the match partly due to a late midweek start and the simple fact that Houston has dropped three consecutive matches.
San Antonio FC and Houston spent most of the match picking their counters. Were it not for a point-blank save by Dynamo keeper Michael Nelson in the 40th minute, SAFC would have enjoyed the halftime lead. The shot by Nicky Hernandez was the only one on target off 12 combined shots by both sides in the opening 45.
The second half was more of the same until the teams came out of the hydration break for the final 15 minutes of regulation. In the 81st minute, Brooklyn Raines — the youngest player on the pitch at 17 years old — won a corner for Houston. The ensuing kick came to Sam Junqua who delivered a perfect service to Sebastian Ferreria. The Dynamo’s leading scorer across all competitions gave Houston the win on his final touch of the match in the 82nd minute.
The win was not without its nervous moments in the second half following Ferreria’s goal. In the second minute of stoppage, a dangerous San Antonio corner came across the goal mouth where SAFC were sure Griffin Dorsey handled it off the line. Play was allowed to continue and Houston came away with the win.
Dynamo head coach Paolo Nagamura said before the match “We as a team, we’re going to make sure that we get back to our ways, how we were a couple of weeks ago. Especially in the beginning of the season when we were a disciplined, cohesive team playing together, balanced defensively and offensively team.”
Following the match, Nagamura who won three Open Cups himself was pleased with his team’s performancespeaking nearly the same words. “I think we were well balanced. It was a very, very good team performance. Defensively, offensively, we are well balanced. I mentioned the word urgency in the second half, we played with purpose and it gave us more opportunities to play on their half and create more chances. So, I think it was a well-balanced team performance.”
“Great win, first half we were a little slow, second half I think we were much better. Well deserved win. Really pleased with how we played the last five minutes,” he said. “Very very good team performance. I think we were well balanced.”
The Dynamo return to MLS action on Saturday May 14, 2022 against Nashville SC at PNC Stadium in Houston. Kick-off is set for 5:30pm CDT.