By DAN KARELL
Brad Davis proved how invaluable he is to the Houston Dynamo on Friday evening.
Earning a start just hours after returning in Houston from Brazil, the veteran midfielder stepped up to the spot late in the second half and buried a penalty kick goal to cancel out two classic striker goals from New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips. Davis’ goal gave the Dynamo a 2-2 draw with the Red Bulls at BBVA Compass Stadium.
The Dynamo came into the match holding a scoreless streak of 478 minutes, struggling to play without the likes of Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia, who made his second start on Friday since coming back from the World Cup. However, it didn’t even take the Dynamo a minute into the match to put an end to that streak.
A Red Bulls turnover in their own half allowed Dynamo defender Jermaine Taylor to find a streaking Kofi Sarkodie motoring down the right wing. Sarkodie expertly controlled the ball and sent a cross back towards the middle from the byline, meeting the head of Giles Barnes and going past Luis Robles before he could blink an eye.
All told, the goal came just 39 seconds into the match.
While the Dynamo controlled the midfield and possession after that against the stunned Red Bulls, they got themselves back in the match against the run of play. An Eric Alexander long ball from the Red Bulls own half in the 13th minute wasn’t dealt with properly by the Dynamo defense, allowing Wright-Phillips to put himself in position to score.
Wright-Phillips shielded Dynamo centerback Eric Brunner away from the ball and side-footed home to tie the scoreline.
After a back and forth first half, the Red Bulls came out in the second half with renewed energy, nearly scoring if not for Tim Cahill hitting the post in the 51st minute.
Wright-Phillips added his second goal of the match and league-leading 14th of the season when he beautifully redirected a cross from Ambroise Oyongo past the out-stretched arms of Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall in the 72nd minute.
The game looked out of the Dynamo’s reach then but the home side received a controversial call in the 81st minute to help level the score. A loose ball in the box was controlled by Red Bulls right back Chris Duvall and cleared, but referee Ismael Elfath determined that Duvall had used his right arm to control the ball and awarded the Dynamo with a penalty kick.
Davis stepped up to the spot and sent Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles the wrong way to tie up the score in the 82nd minute.
The draw was not necessarily good for either team. The Dynamo remain winless in six MLS matches while the Red Bulls have won just once in their last seven and are 0-4-7 when conceding first in matches.
Here are the game highlights: