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HOUSTON, Texas – Fresh off a solid 3-1 Major League Soccer victory over the Seattle Sounders, the Houston Dynamo open CONCACAF Champions League CCL) play Tuesday on the road against Trinidad’s DIRECTV W Connection at Hasely Crawford Stadium in Port of Spain.
The Dynamo is making its second consecutive appearance, and fourth overall, in the region’s club championship by virtue of advancing to the 2012 MLS Cup final. A year ago, Houston reached the CCL quarterfinals, losing to eventual finalist Santos Laguna, 3-1 on aggregate.
An emotional victory on Saturday over the Seattle Sounders, which now features United States international Clint Dempsey, was played in front of a capacity crowd of 22,289 at BBVA Compass Stadium.
“The first 30 minutes were probably the best 30 minutes we’ve played this year,” Houston coach Dominic Kinnear said after the match. “I thought we looked excellent.”
A big reason Kinnear was beaming about the opening half hour was that Giles Barnes gave the Dynamo a 2-0 lead with goals in the 17th and 21st minutes. It was the English forward’s first multi-goal game in MLS.
“It’s always nice to get on the score sheet, but first and foremost your confidence comes from playing well with the team and working hard with them,” Barnes said. “If you work hard, you’ll get your rewards and hopefully that’s what I’m doing. I’m working hard and hopefully the rewards will come.”
After Shalrie Joseph pulled Seattle to within a goal in the 65th minute, Will Bruin netted his sixth tally of the year nine minutes later to clinch the Dynamo’s fourth win in its last six league matches.
“That’s what we’re supposed to do, we’re supposed to score goals,” Bruin said. “I think me and Giles are getting back on the same page that we were at the beginning of the year. That’s going to be dangerous come these last few games.”
While the Dynamo was dangerous in the attacking third, it made sure to stymie Dempsey, a former Fulham and Tottenham standout.
“I think he was getting a little frustrated at the end because he wasn’t getting the ball,” midfielder Adam Moffat said. “He’s a quality player. He’s a good player and will do well for them. We’re happy we got the three points tonight and shut him down.”
On Tuesday, Houston faces a DIRECTV W Connection team looking to bounce back from a 3-1 loss to Arabe Unido on August 8 in Panama City, the first match of Group 1.
Humberto Ward struck for a first-half brace and Jose Gonzalez added a goal in the 53rd minute for Arabe Unido, while Neil Benjamin, an 18-year-old striker, scored the lone goal for the visitors with 14 minutes left in regulation.
Liga de Campeones