HOUSTON (AP) — Ricardo Clark and Omar Cummings scored in the second half to lead Houston back from a two-goal halftime deficit, lifting the Dynamo into a 2-2 tie against the top-seeded New York Red Bulls in the first leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday.
The second part is Wednesday at New York.
“Judging by the feel right now, it feels like a loss because we were winning 2-0,” New York goalkeeper Luis Robles said. “Now, we have to go home and we have to win. It’s as simple as that.”
Cummings, a second-half substitute, tied it in the 92nd minute when he tapped the ball in from just outside the net. Bobby Boswell’s header was stopped by Robles, but Cummings sent the rebound inside the near post.
Cummings said the goal was a “will-goal.”
“You will that one in,” Cummings said. “You need a push, you need a point. You need to go to New York at least level if not better. That’s the kind of goal you just will in.”
Clark scored in the 51st minute when New York was unable to clear the ball away and he sent it through traffic and inside the near post.
“We didn’t script it this way,” said Houston assistant Wade Barrett, who helped run the team after Dynamo coach Dominic Kinnear was suspended for running out of his box and onto the field late in the team’s first-round game against Montreal.
“The first half didn’t go as we had planned,” Barrett said. “We gave up two goals and dug a hole, but it is 135 minutes from halftime and the guys came back with a fantastic attitude and got a goal back right away. . It was a fantastic performance in the second half. The way everything turned out, you feel real positive going into Wednesday.”
The Dynamo played the final 25 minutes with a man advantage after New York’s Jamison Olave was given a straight red card for a reckless tackle from behind on Cummings in the 65th minute.
Tim Cahill put the Red Bulls in front in the 22nd minute, taking Thierry Henry’s cross from the left side and heading it inside the near post from just outside the upper goalkeeper’s box.
Eric Alexander made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute, faking to his right, turning and hitting a shot from 14 yards out on the right box inside the near post.
“I thought it was tremendous to go up 2-0 on the road in the first half,” New York coach Mike Petke said. “I thought we gave them confidence with the deflection goal. The red card killed us. At the end of the day, those goals were our fault. It wasn’t something created out of spectacular stuff. It was self-inflicted.”
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