MLS Re-Entry Draft XI 2015: Three released Whitecaps feature

By Jamie Dawe

With the first round of the MLS Re-Entry Draft closing in, it would seem an appropriate time to form a side with the best eleven players from the 60 that are eligible for the 2015 Re-Entry process.

Players eligible for the draft must be at least 23 and have a minimum of three years of MLS experience or be at least 25 with a minimum of four years of MLS experience – which makes this group more exclusive and hence why there’s only 60 players available! So, here we go.

GK: Tally Hall – Age 30 – released by Orlando City

Embed from Getty Images

After tearing his ACL in August 2014, Hall lost a starting berth that had been his for four-straight years at the Dynamo. Once he recovered from his ACL injury, Hall found himself in new surroundings in Orlando and quickly became the expansion side’s first choice. However, following another injury blow, the Lions deemed him surplus for their second season in MLS. This two-time MLS All-Star provides an opportunity not to be missed in the draft.

RB: Steven Beitashour – Age 28 – Released by Vancouver Whitecaps

This Californian born Iranian international not only carries tonnes of experience with him, but was arguably one of the most solid right-backs in the league this season. With 27 regular season starts and five assists, he played an important role in the Whitecaps’ second place Western Conference finish. Beitashour will be a solid pick for any side in need of a starting right-back but he won’t come cheap.

LB: Kevin Alston – Age 27 – Released by New England Revolution

Alston has made his name as a solid but speedy wingback since the Revs drafted him in 2009. He’s a solid option at left or right back and is certainly a player who can expect to be drafted early on.


CB: Tommy Meyer – Age 25 – Released by LA Galaxy

The second youngest player on this team, Meyer has plenty of time to grow into the starting defender that he’s never been given the chance to become during his four-year spell at the Galaxy. 26 regular season starts relatively evenly spread over the four years show that Meyer has always been on the peripherals of a team that has had some good centre-backs. Meyer is capable of grabbing a spot on the roster of almost any MLS side and will expect to be drafted on Friday.

CB: Pa Modou Kah – Age 35 – Released by Vancouver Whitecaps

Seattle Sounders vs Vancouver Whitecaps Pa-Modou Kah Celebrates

The oldest man on this list, Kah is still a viable option as a starting centre-back for at least one more season. Born in Gambia, but a former Norwegian international, Kah knows how to command a back line and even chipped in with three goals for the Whitecaps during the 2015 regular season.

CDM: Jeb Brovsky – Age 27 – Released by New York City FC

The ultimate utility man. Brovsky could have been positioned anywhere across the back line and anywhere in the centre of midfield but holding midfield seems to suit him best. He never quite seemed to settle into his best form in the extremely porous NYCFC defence but he will hope to find another home within MLS now.

CM: Boniek Garcia – Age 31 – Released by Houston Dynamo

At 31, Garcia’s future will surely be in the middle of the park – or possibly in a more attacking central role, rather than out wide. With 12 goals and 18 assists in 89 MLS games for Houston, Garcia has proven what he is capable of and he has to be seen as a viable option for any side looking to pick up a robust option to cover attacking options in midfield.

CM: Mauro Rosales – Age 34 – Released by Vancouver Whitecaps

Rosales enjoyed a solid 2015 season with Vancouver and will be disappointed not to be staying with the Canadian side. The Argentinian midfield enforcer has proved to be a reliable option since moving to MLS in 2011 and will hope his age doesn’t stop a team from bringing him in for the 2016 campaign.

LW: Marco Pappa – Age 28 – Released by Seattle Sounders

Seattle Sounders vs FC Dallas  Marco Pappa

Pappa started only half of the regular season games for the Sounders this season, but in that time he managed to contribute three goals and six assists. At 28, he certainly has the ability to contribute to a team for at least another few years as a starting option and carries invaluable playoff experience, having played ten postseason games with the Sounders and Chicago Fire since 2008.

RW: Robbie Findley – Age 30 – Released by Toronto FC

Findley is a capable starter and also a great bench option for most MLS teams. He has 40 MLS goals and 18 assists to his name across eight seasons in the league. Findley can add an injection of pace into any MLS attack and a spark of fear into any opposing backline. He also offers five years of MLS Cup Playoff experience from his time in Real Salt Lake and could prove invaluable to an MLS side looking for attacking reinforcements.

ST: Maximiliano Urruti – Age 24 – Released by Portland Timbers

Urruti is an incredibly gifted forward with an eye for goal and now an MLS Cup Champions medal under his belt. At just 24, Urruti has buckets of talent to offer any MLS side. Urruti has been used predominantly off the bench in Portland, starting only 28 of his 67 regular season appearances, but he’s capable of staking a starting berth in an MLS side – possibly one looking to rebuild with young talent.

These are only 11 of the 60 players available in the draft. Who do you think should be included in this team that’s not listed above and why?


MLS 2015 Season Preview: Houston Dynamo

As the new season draws ever closer we’ll have a new MLS 2015 Season Preview up everyday. Today we take a look at what the Houston Dynamo will be looking to achieve this year.

Houston Dynamo goes into the 2015 season with a new manager in Owen Coyle and a lot of room for improvement. Following the departure of Dominic Kinnear, the Dynamo have signalled their intent that they need to do better. Houston is a team in transition but they have failed to impress in recent times and need to try and bounce back this year. They will be looking to make their mark in the Western Conference following their move from the East to make room for the new expansion franchises.

Last season’s finish: Eastern Conference position: 8th – P34 – W11 – D6 – L17

Embed from Getty Images

What needs to change this year? 

They need more points. For a team that boasts some highly talented players in DaMarcus Beasley and Brad Davis to name a couple, they need to be performing better. Owen Coyle will bring a British philosophy to this Houston side. And so they should hopefully be a lot better defensively this season and with it, increase their points output.

Key changes to squad:

Ins: Erick Torres – Forward (Designated Player), Raul Rodriguez – Defender, Joe Willis – Goalkeeper.

Outs: Mark Sherrod – Striker, Andrew Driver – Midfielder, Tally Hall – Goalkeeper.

Key player: Brad Davis – Midfielder

Embed from Getty Images

Brad Davis is now the longest-serving player to stay with one club in MLS and he plays with pride every time he pulls on the orange of Houston and is a great leader for his side. Expect him to lead them again this season, while his threat from set-pieces is a great asset to the Dynamo. Davis is key to their season.

One to watch: Erick Torres – Forward

It may seem a controversial choice as Erick Torres is not expected to join up until June. However, expect him to have a huge impact on the productivity of this Houston attack. Torres scored 15 goals last term for a Chivas USA side that were below average. He is a natural goalscorer and great signing for the Dynamo. He will need to earn his Designated Player tag as soon as he rejoins MLS with the Dynamo.

Predicted finish: Western Conference – 8th

We’re not expecting miracles at the BBVA Compass Stadium this season and so a modest eighth-placed finish will be a good building block for a side that should be pushing for the playoffs the following year.

How do you think the Houston Dynamo will fare in 2015?

Trade crazy! All the MLS trades from a busy window on Monday

Major League Soccer clubs across the country have been busy acquiring players today. The half-day trade window gave MLS teams four hours to trade players for the first time this offseason. Clubs could also re-sign their own players.

11 players were on the move on Monday as 10 different clubs were involved with some form of trade in the final opportunity to reshuffle squad’s before Wednesday’s MLS Expansion Draft.

The Expansion Draft gets underway at 19:00 (UK time) on Wednesday and the offseason trade window will reopen after the draft ends.

Here are all today’s trades in what has been a busy day:

Michael Harrington: Portland Timbers – Colorado Rapids

Embed from Getty Images

The Colorado Rapids acquired defender Michael Harrington from the Portland Timbers in exchange for allocation money. The 28-year-old made 25 appearances for the Timbers last season and should shore up a leaky Colorado defence that conceded more goals than anyone else in 2014.

Nat Borchers: Real Salt Lake – Portland Timbers

Embed from Getty Images

The Timbers quickly replaced Harrington by bringing in Nat Borchers from Western Conference rivals Real Salt Lake for allocation money. The 33-year-old centre-back was with RSL since 2008 and started 32 games last season. Borchers was one of five players the Timbers signed on Monday.

Josh Williams: Columbus Crew – New York City FC

Embed from Getty Images

New York City have bulked up their defence with the addition of Josh Williams from Columbus Crew in exchange for allocations funds. Williams, 26, made 14 appearances for the Crew this season.

Andrew Driver – Joe Willis/Samuel Inkoom: Houston Dynamo – DC United

Embed from Getty Images

English winger Andrew Driver joined Eastern Conference winners DC United from Houston Dynamo in exchange for Joe Willis and Samuel Inkoom. The Dynamo have bolstered their defence by bringing in goalkeeper Willis and right-back Inkoom while DC have added another attacking option in Driver.

Amobi Okugo:  Philadelphia Union – Orlando City SC

Embed from Getty Images

Orlando City brought in three players on Monday. Amobi Okugo was the first as the 23-year-old holding midfielder joined from Philadelphia Union in exchange for allocation money and a 2016 2nd Round SuperDraft pick. Okugo made 32 appearances for the Union in 2014, scoring and assisting two goals.

Aurelien Collin: Sporting Kansas City – Orlando City SC

Embed from Getty Images

Orlando’s second pick-up was Aurelien Collin. The dominant centre-back will undoubtedly give the Lions a solid defensive leader. He joins Orlando in exchange for allocation money and future considerations. Collin, MLS Cup MVP from 2013, made 26 appearances for Sporting Kansas City in 2014, scoring twice.

Tally Hall: Houston Dynamo – Orlando City SC

Embed from Getty Images

The third acquisition Orlando made was goalkeeper Tally Hall who joins from Houston in exchange for allocation money and an international roster spot. Hall and Collin will need to keep the Lions defence solid in their inaugural season in MLS next season.

C.J. Sapong: Sporting Kansas City – Philadelphia Union

Embed from Getty Images

Philadelphia bolstered their attack with the addition of C.J. Sapong from Sporting Kansas City in exchange for the Union’s highest first-round pick in the upcoming SuperDraft. Sapong scored twice in 20 appearances for SKC in 2014.

Bernardo Anor: Columbus Crew – Sporting Kansas City

Embed from Getty Images

After seeing Collin and Sapong leave, Sporting Kansas City brought in someone in the form of midfielder Bernardo Anor from Columbus Crew. Anor joined SKC in exchange for allocation money after scoring six goals with one assist in 27 games this year.

Omar Salgado: Vancouver Whitecaps – New York City FC

Embed from Getty Images

New York City also made a move to improve their attacking options ahead of their debut season by bringing in Omar Salgado from the Vancouver Whitecaps in a swap for Future Considerations. The 21-year-old only played eight times for the Whitecaps in 2014.

Joe Nasco – Dimitry Imbongo/Geoffrey Castillion: Colorado Rapids – New England Revolution

Embed from Getty Images

MLS Cup Final losers New England Revolution also made a move in the short trade window by bringing in Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Joe Nasco and a third round pick in the upcoming SuperDraft. In exchange the Revs sent forwards Dimitry Imbongo and Geoffrey Castillion as well as a second round SuperDraft pick.

Expansion franchises New York City and Orlando City also picked up international roster slots for the 2015 and 2016 seasons from DC United. Both clubs will now be looking ahead to Wednesday’s highly-anticipated Expansion Draft.

What did you make of Monday’s busy day of trading in MLS?

Jack Butland linked with shock move to Orlando City SC

Orlando City SC are lining up a move to bring Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland in on loan for the start of their inaugural campaign in Major League Soccer, according to a report in the Daily Star.

The expansion side are looking to bolster their squad ahead of their first season in MLS, and a loan move for the England shot-stopper certainly shows ambition.

Butland, 21, is currently on loan at Championship side Derby but that spell ends in January and Orlando will look to bring him in for the first few months of the season.

The Lions have already acquired Tally Hall from Houston Dynamo but Hall is out until around June after he tore his anterior cruciate ligament during the last campaign.

Butland could gain vital experience abroad as a starter between the sticks, but any deal would have to allow the England Under-21 ‘keeper to return in time for the European Championships at the end of June 2015.

Embed from Getty Images

Orlando have strong connections with Stoke City as president Phil Rawlins was formerly a long-term director with the Potters and manager Adrian Heath played for the Premier League club too.

A move to bring in Butland would be a great signing for Orlando but the young star would have to be willing to make the long move away from home.

Still, the added incentive of playing in the same side as Brazilian superstar Kaka could be enough to tempt Butland as he is still a way off of starting in the Premier League with Stoke.

Would Jack Butland be a good signing for Orlando City?

What we learnt from San Jose’s comfortable win over Houston

San Jose Earthquakes cruised to a 3-0 win on Sunday night, as Houston Dynamo will rue costly errors defensively. We take a look at four key talking points from the game. They are as follows:

1. Does Dominic Kinnear know where to play Giles Barnes?

Giles Barnes has played mainly through the middle all year and hasn’t really reached his potential yet.

The former Derby ace, has struggled to influence results, as it would appear that he doesn’t know where he’s playing.

The team sheet suggests that he was playing up front, but his performance said otherwise as he rarely got into advanced positions and struggled to keep up with attacks.

His role needs clarification.

Embed from Getty Images

2. Tally Hall was full of howlers.

Houston’s normally reliable ‘keeper Tally Hall, was in comical form on Sunday as he managed to pick up a blatant back pass and then misjudged a long ball, both which led to goals.

Hall will take most of the stick, but it’s difficult to feel sorry for him as his defense is way below par. They’re scramble defence is a joke as there is no trust when delegating marking responsibilities, and communication is absent.

The Dynamo really needs their leader back in Brad Davis, who is currently on World Cup duty with the USMNT.


3. Busch was faultless.

Contrary to the performance of Tally Hall, Jon Busch was brilliant. He was rarely tested, with the Dynamo only having six shots on target, three of which were blocked.

But keeping a clean sheet will do Busch and his San Jose defence the world of good, especially for Busch who was recently left stunned by a cracking lob from Obafemi Martins.

Embed from Getty Images

4. Who will be missed more, Wondo or Davis?

Both Chris Wondolowski of the Earthquakes and Brad Davis of the Dynamo are heading to the World Cup with the USMNT and both sides will be weaker as a result.

It would appear that the Dynamo are significantly weaker due to the loss of Davis, as Kinnear seemingly has nobody to replace him with. He used Giles Barnes in the loss to DC United and Servando Carrasco on Sunday night, but neither could do the job Davis does so well.

San Jose is obviously going to miss ‘Wondo’ but  it seems as though they have a better squad to cope with the loss of their talisman than the Dynamo.

Highlights via MLS on YouTube:

MLS: 5 Takeaways from week 12’s action

Another exciting week of MLS action is over, and the standings in both conferences are starting to take some shape. There were 34 goals scored in the 11 games this week, giving an exciting average of 3.09 goals per match. Here are our key takeaways from the action:


1. LA Galaxy are back in business.

LA Galaxy made the most of a double gameweek, by winning both matches in front of their own fans against FC Dallas on Wednesday and Philadelphia Union last night. Robbie Keane scored in both games and now has seven for the season, but Landon Donovan makes all the headlines after he made MLS history by becoming the all-time leading goalscorer. The Galaxy looked much better in both games and will look to make it three on the bounce when they travel to Chicago Fire next weekend.


2. Sporting Kansas City stuttering form continues.

Kansas City hosted Toronto FC on Friday night, looking to avoid losing three in a row, and they did. Though they couldn’t hold on to win as a late Toronto goal ensured that points were shared. Sporting now sit five points behind Eastern Conference leaders New England, in second place and must turn things around quickly if they are to meet their target and win the Conference. They are significantly weakened defensively, and had no centre-backs available for Friday’s match, but will want to get back to winning ways against New York tomorrow night.

Embed from Getty Images

3. New York Red Bulls are in trouble.

Speaking of the Red Bulls, they are a team in very poor form by their high standards, and fell to their third defeat on the spin on Saturday night against Portland. The Timbers came from behind to win 2-1, thanks to a brace from Maximiliano Urruti and were the only side to win on the road this week. New York look vulnerable defensively, and will continue to ship goals regardless. They must make sure they try and outscore their opponent to enjoy success. A dangerous tactic, but with the players available, it would appear to be the only possible approach at this point.


4. Columbus finally win.

The Crew ended their eight-game winless run with a 2-0 victory against a poor Chicago Fire on Saturday night, and the much needed win could help them kick-start their season once more. They hadn’t won since March 29, after winning the first three of the season but got back to winning ways, with Federico Higuain the catalyst once again. He got another two assists with two excellent passes, and now has five for the season. Ethan Finlay scored his second in as many weeks in his first start of the season, and looked a constant threat with his blistering pace a dangerous outlet of attack for Columbus. They face Toronto FC on Saturday in what should be an exciting game.

Embed from Getty Images

5. Houston Dynam-oh-no.

Houston played two away games in week 12, and will want to forget about both pretty quickly. They lost both and failed to score a goal, losing 2-0 at DC United on Wednesday, before going down 3-0 at the San Jose Earthquakes yesterday. They were defensively poor in both, but particularly embarrassing in Sunday’s loss, as they conceded two very sloppy goals. The first was a free-kick inside the box, after Tally Hall forgot the rules as he picked up a back pass. And the goalkeeper was at fault for the third goal too, as he came charging out of his box, only to realise he couldn’t use his hands and lost in the aerial battle with Atiba Harris, who tapped in following up on his initial headed effort which hit the post. Houston travel to Colorado next, and will need to shore up their defence if they are to get anything there.

What did we learn in DC United’s win against the Houston Dynamo?

Houston Dynamo visited DC United on Wednesday night and left with nothing but an injury to rookie Mark Sherrod as DC strolled to a 2-0 win. However, there a many things we can take from the game:

1. Giles Barnes is playing to deep for Dynamo.

The ex-Derby County winger is being deployed as a central midfielder as of late, and he is struggling with the defensive responsibilities assigned to him.

If the Dynamo wants to get the best out of Barnes they are going to have to play him in a more advanced role, and reduce the amount of his defensive duties.

You don’t keep your thoroughbred locked in the stables!


2. Dynamo are desperately missing Brad Davis.

Much of the reason why Barnes is playing in midfield is down to the loss of Davis, who is currently with the national team.

However, the experienced midfielder is widely expected to miss out on Jurgen Klinsmann’s 23- man squad for the World Cup, and so he should be back sooner rather than later.

The Dynamo midfield is missing their playmaker badly, and his set-pieces are irreplaceable.

Embed from Getty Images

(Photo: Houston will be looking forward to the return of Brad Davis)


3. No Eddie Johnson, no problem.

Chris Rolfe deputized for the suspended Johnson on Wednesday night, in an advanced position, and he managed to score as well.

Filling-in to partner red-hot Fabian Espindola, Rolfe beat his man and fired past Tally Hall in textbook fashion.

Rolfe acts as a partner for Espindola rather than a target man like EJ, and it will be interesting to see how the trio play when Johnson comes back into the side.


4. Espindola is a touch of class.

I mentioned in the preview for this game that there was expectation on Espindola to perform, and he did not disappoint, grabbing the assist for Rolfe’s goal and scoring one himself.

He single-handedly inspired DC to victory by notching his fifth goal of the season.

He is arguably DC’s most important player as Eddie Johnson has yet to start firing on all cylinders.

Embed from Getty Images

(Photo: Fabian Espindola is crucial for DC)


5. Bill Hamid has to be the next long-term USMNT ‘keeper.

The 23 year-old shot stopper showed again last night why he has such a great reputation. He was tested throughout the game by long-range efforts and looked commanding at all times.

With an upcoming age problem amongst the goalkeepers in the USMNT, the young Hamid has to be the first port of call, post Brazil. Brad Guzan is the youngest ‘keeper going to Brazil at 29.

Many will argue Hamid should be heading to Brazil, but playing more games for DC will only enhance his ability.


Highlights via MLS on YouTube:

Preview: D.C. United vs Houston Dynamo

Houston Dynamo travel to DC tonight hoping to continue a rich run of form against the Washington DC based club.

DC will be without the suspended Eddie Johnson who misses out through a retrospective ban for leaving his foot in on Troy Perkins when the Montreal Impact visited on Saturday night.

However, they still can call upon the talent of Fabian Espindola, who will have to improve his record of four goals in ten games tonight if DC has any chance of winning.

The Dynamo will be pleased with how their attack is shaping up, with the recent form of Mark Sherrod impressing, and the rookie has 2 goals in as many appearances. Will Bruin will play alongside Sherrod again and ex-Derby prospect Giles Barnes will be responsible for supplying the duo in the absence of Brad Davis and Boniek Garcia.

Embed from Getty Images

(Photo: Mark Sherrod will hope to continue his fine run of performances of late)

It looks set to be an uphill battle for DC, however, having lost only one in their last six, form is certainly on the side of the Washington-based club.

The loss of Eddie Johnson will be huge, as ideally he would have freed up Espindola to roam. But with EJ missing, expect attentions to turn to Espindola, who will be tightly marked for most of the game.

Player to watch: Andrew Driver (Houston Dynamo)

English-born Driver is due a goal and it would be perfect timing for the ex-Hearts winger to score tonight. He was unlucky against the Galaxy as he saw an effort come off the post, and he will be hoping his luck changes tonight.

Key stat: Houston have won six out of the last seven meetings between the two.

Prediction: D.C United 0-1 Houston Dynamo – I expect a second clean sheet in a row for Tally Hall who has been impressive this season.

Real Salt Lake punish Houston

By Jamie Ives

Real Salt Lake netted five times on Saturday night against Houston to win 5-2 in an eventful game, in which Javier Morales grabbed a hat-trick.

The Dynamo, who were coming off the back of a clean sheet were below par defensively all night, and this was seen from the first whistle, as Javier Morales chipped Tally Hall with only fifteen seconds on the clock.

The Cantona-esque effort was nothing short of sublime, as Hall could do nothing but admire the skillful attempt.

The lead was doubled in the seventeenth minute, as Morales got on the scoresheet for the second time, tapping in from six yards from a corner which had been headed back into the box.

Embed from Getty Images

(Photo: Javier Morales was excellent, and ended the night with a hat-trick)

Rookie, Mark Sherrod, opened his MLS account to bring the Dynamo back into the game after he slotted in from a Brad Davis corner.

However, disaster struck in the twenty-seventh minute as Servando Carrasco was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Morales.

With Houston having to play two thirds of the match with ten men, Salt Lake took the advantage and stretched their lead just five minutes after the dismissal.

Englishman Luke Mulholland delivered a peach of a cross into the near post, and Alvaro Saborio guided his header perfectly across goal and into the bottom corner.

Two minutes after that Houston had a penalty, and another chance to get back into the game, after Aaron Maund brought down David Horst in the box.

Ex-Derby County midfielder Giles Barnes stepped up to take it, but the penalty was very poor and Nick Rimando saved with ease, meaning Salt Lake went in at halftime with a 3-1 lead.

Houston came out looking for a goal to get them back in the match, and Mark Sherrod doubled his tally in the fifty-sixth minute to bring Houston to within a goal.

Sherrod’s powerful finish was the result of hard work by Giles Barnes to secure the ball, and the rookie smashed the ball past the outstretched Rimando.

Salt Lake survived a Dynamo charge and their fourth came in the seventy-eighth minute, when Mulholland rounded Tally Hall and slotted into an empty net from a tight angle, after a intricate pass from Morales opened up the Dynamo defence.

With the game out of reach and dying down, Salt Lake had one more chance to score when Tally Hall pulled down Devon Sandoval to give the visitors a penalty.

Morales stepped up and ended his wonderful night with a hat-trick as he buried the spot-kick past Hall.

Houston need to regroup fast as they face the LA Galaxy on Saturday, while the dangerous Real Salt Lake host the Colorado Rapids.

Highlights via the MLS YouTube channel:

Dynamo defiant in victory

By Jamie Ives

Houston Dynamo kept on course for the playoffs with a solid defensive display on Wednesday night as they recorded a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew.

Their defiance was typified by goalkeeper Tally Hall, who was the man of the match as he kept his fourth clean sheet of the season with another stellar performance.

Houston struggled early on to gain a foothold and were somewhat overcome by the Crew’s dominance.

But the 6’4’ goalkeeper stood strong and produced save after save, keeping the Dynamo in the game.

Columbus went in at the break much the better side, controlling possession and creating numerous chances, and will feel disappointed that they couldn’t get the goal they desperately searched for.

The second half began very differently with the Dynamo coming out firing, and they were soon rewarded.

They broke the deadlock on the fifty-minute mark when Bradley Davis’s free kick was met by Dynamo striker Will Bruin, for his sixth goal of the season.

Columbus Crew will feel hard done by not to score but their strike force are struggling, with just three goals in their last six and they were no match for the in-form Hall.

Embed from Getty Images

(Tally Hall put in an inspired performance to help Houston to victory against Columbus on Wednesday)

The game seemed to lack energy for much of the second half, until a breakaway in the eighty-third-minute resulted in Justin Meram hitting the post for Columbus.

With the clock winding down and the Dynamo looking comfortable, the ball fell to Englishman Andrew Driver, who had a great chance to add another goal, but he could only find the hands Steve Clark in the Columbus goal.

Two wins on the bounce for Houston, who now sit third in the Eastern Conference but the performance of Hall stood out last night and calls will surely be made for a possible world cup place.

Though it would appear a longshot, with Premier League duo, Tim Howard and Brad Guzan both likely to feature before Hall.

Jurgen Klinsmann will name his 30-man USA squad for the World Cup on Monday.