Davis Nets Hat Trick

Chivas USA proved to be no match for the surging Houston Dynamo, as the Men in Orange rode three goals from Brad Davis to a victory at Robertson Stadium televised nationally on ESPN2’s MLS Primetime Thursday.

Houston came out firing early in the match, with Stuart Holden taking a crack at Brad Guzan just three minutes in. Holden’s blast was right at the keeper, though, and Guzan easily turned it away.

Just two minutes later, the Dynamo would jump in front. Brad Davis’ free kick was sent into the Chivas wall but deflected right to the feet of Brian Mullen, who calmly slotted it into the right corner to give the home team an early advantage.

In the 17th minute, Francisco Mendoza snuck around his defender in the box and got on the end of a cross. His effort had back-up keeper Zach Wells beat, but just missed to the wrong side of the post.

Five minutes later, Kelly Gray crashed the box on a Brad Davis free kick and got his head to the ball after beating his defender, but the resulting shot rocketed just over the crossbar, keeping the lead at one.

Three minutes before the break, Joseph Ngwenya decided to have a go at it, firing with his left foot. Guzan easily smothered the shot, keeping Ngwenya from extending his scoring streak to a fourth-straight match.

The teams headed into halftime with all the momentum on the side of the Dynamo, and it paid dividends in the second half.
In the 54th minute, Brad Davis was on the receiving end of a sweet give-and-go with Wade Barrett. Finding himself unmarked in the box, he launched a shot into the far upper corner, giving Brad Guzan absolutely no chance to stop it. Davis’ first goal in 69 games, it will almost certainly be a candidate for Goal of the Week.

Not to go unmentioned, Zach Wells was called upon to make a point-blank save on Alex Zotinca’s close-range shot, preserving Houston’s two-goal lead.

Five minutes past the hour mark, Chivas nearly pulled one back. Second-half substitute Matt Taylor got off a cross that found fellow substitute Laurent Merlin alone in the middle of the Houston box. The one-time Galaxy trialist’s half-volley beat Wells, but struck the crossbar before being cleared away.

At the other end of the field, Chivas USA defender Shavar Thomas was sent off for denying a goal-scoring opportunity. He saw red after pulling down Joseph Ngwenya from behind as the Zimbabwean was streaking toward the goal.

Houston seized the opportunity of being a man up in the 70th minute when Brian Mullen stripped Francisco Mendoza on the right side and fed the ball to Ngwenya in the middle, who left it off for Brad Davis. Already with one goal to his name on the night, Davis stepped up and buried a second goal in the right corner, staking the Dynamo to an insurmountable 3-0 lead.

Three minutes later, Houston earned a penalty kick when Maykel Galindo tripped up Brian Mullen just inside the box. Brad Davis was chosen to take the PK and converted easily, earning him a well-deserved hat trick.

Chivas USA’s five-game undefeated streak in historic fashion as the 4-0 loss was the worst in franchise history. They fall to third-place in the conference, two points behind Houston and two points clear of Colorado.

With the victory, Houston jumps over Chivas for second-place in the West, just three points behind FC Dallas, despite playing two less games than the Hoops. They will also be regaining the services of Dwayne De Rosario and Pat Onstad for Sunday’s road game in Kansas City after Canada’s loss in the Gold Cup.

HOU – Brian Mullan 1 (unassisted) 6’
HOU – Brad Davis 1 (Wade Barrett) 55’
HOU – Brad Davis 2 (Joseph Ngwenya, Stuart Holden) 70’
HOU – Brad Davis 3 (penalty kick) 75’

CHV – Brad Guzan, Claudio Suarez, Shavar Thomas, Francisco Mendoza, Ante Razov (Laurent Merlin 60), Maykel Galindo, Jesse Marsch (Jason Hernandez 69), Sacha Kljestan (Matt Taylor 60), Alex Zotinca, Paulo Nagamura, Orlando Perez

HOU – Zach Wells, Eddie Robinson (Corey Ashe 76), Ryan Cochrane, Kelly Gray, Brian Mullan (Chris Wondolowski 84), Brad Davis (Patrick Ianni 76), Craig Waibel, Stuart Holden, Wade Barrett, Richard Mulrooney, Joseph Ngwenya

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