photos by Mike Yeh

The Houston Dynamo began the 2016 MLS campaign with a 3-3 draw to Eastern Conference powerhouse New England 3-3 at BBVA Compass Stadium. Houston looked much improved from last year’s team, with newcomers Cristian “Chaco” Maidana and Andrew Wenger making significant contributions . But a late goal by Daigo Kobayashi in stoppage time sealed the conclusion of the match.

The Revs began the scoring in the 3rd minute on a beautiful 25 yard strike by Diego Fagundez. Joe Willis (normally the Dynamo backup GK but was starting in place of the injured Tyler Deric) could not quite get his hands on the ball. But before the half, Maidana scored an unassisted goal for his 1st in a Dynamo shirt to level the match at 1-1.

Houston wanted to employ a more possession oriented attack this season, and in the 50th minute, possession paid off as Wenger netted his 1st goal as a member of the Dynamo. A series of quick accurate passes from Ricardo Clark and Will Bruin led to the goal. However, New England forward Charlie Davies would score almost 2 minutes later to again level the match at 2-2.

Giles Barnes, who was wearing the captain’s armband, would score on an assist from Bruin in the 77th minute, with Boniek Garcia helping out. The match was 3-2 at this point before the aforementioned equalizer from Kobayashi.

After the match, Dynamo manager Owen Coyle was impressed with Maidana and Wenger:

 “Again, I was delighted with them as you know myself and (Dynamo general manager) Matt Jordan worked very hard in the offseason to try to bring them to the club. I think you see today what ‘Chaco’ Maidana can do. Reluctantly I had to take Maidana out of the game, he missed two and a half weeks of the preseason. It’s not fair but that’s what we get, 70 minutes from him and (MF) Ricardo Clark was the same. They prepared to go in and it shows the spirit we have in the club and the camaraderie. Maidana as you see, even when he’s not in form the delivery from set plays, which affects how we could of scored as well, it is a wonderful thing. Wenger gives you pace and power on the wide areas. When you see (MF) Giles (Barnes) on the other side, we will be a very exciting team. What we have to do and it relates to the gentleman’s first question, we have to make sure that when it comes late on we are not giving up those chances whether we have players with fatigue or injury. We see the game now, if we did that, we would be sitting here applauding the performance and three points.”

Houston next plays rival FC Dallas on Saturday, March 12th at BBVA Compass Stadium.