Jose Gonzalez after scoring what proved to be the game-winning goal in Arabe Unido's 1-0 CONCACAF Champions League win over the Houston Dynamo on October 24, 2013, at the Estadio Agustin "Muquita" Sanchez in La Chorrera, Panama. (Photo: Omar Argumedo)
LA CHORRERA, Panama – A second-half goal by Jose Gonzalez lifted Arabe Unido to a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo and into the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League at the Estadio Agustin “Muquita” Sanchez on Thursday.
Arabe advanced to the knockout phase for the second-ever time by capturing first place in Group 1 with nine points, two more than runner-up Houston.
The Dynamo beat the Panamanians in three previous meetings and was on top of the group entering the game, needing only to avoid defeat in order to progress.
Gonzalez, however, reversed all trends in the 61st minute.
The 22-year-old midfielder snapped off a shot from 12-yards out that was saved by goalkeeper Tyler Deric on the edge of the six-yard box. Fortuitously, the rebound bounced back to Gonzalez, whose looping header was tipped by the retreating Deric off the crossbar and over the line.
Houston had a chance to put Unido on its heels in the 26th minute, when Cam Weaver flicked a long punt that freed Omar Cummings behind the defense. The Jamaican’s volley after two bounces on the right side of the box hit the outside netting.
In the first minute of first-half stoppage time, the host had two shots blocked in the box, before forcing a corner kick that was corralled by Deric.
Shortly after Gonzalez’s goal – his second of the competition -- Houston made three offensive-minded substitutions in search of the needed equalizer, bringing on Giles Barnes, Will Bruin and Warren Creavalle.
Despite the additional firepower, the Dynamo could not breakdown an Arabe defense that conceded 10 goals in its previous three CCL home games.
The loss means that Houston has still won only once in 12 all-time CCL encounters on the road.
Arabe, which lost nine of its previous 12 outings in the competition, last participated in the quarterfinals in 2010. That year, it fell in a two-leg series to Cruz Azul, 4-0 on aggregate.