Had you told the Houston Dynamo that they would give up the first goal and finish with 10 men against Olimpia on Thursday night, not even the most confident of men would have bet on them to get a result, but that is exactly what they did. Adam Moffat equalized for Houston and then they held on after a 61st minute red card to Nathan Sturgis to earn a vital 1-1 draw in Honduras that has them looking good for a spot in the knockout stages.
The match got off to a terrible start for the Dynamo. Douglas Caetano got on the end of a corner kick and dove to nod it back across goal for the opening tally.
Olimpia poured on the pressure after their goal and only some quality keeping from Tyler Deric kept them from adding to their lead. Then even when Deric was beaten, Moffat cleared a ball off the line. The Dynamo were really holding on for dear life.
After a while, Houston found a rhythm. They weren't outstanding, which was no surprise considering that they played a handful of reserves, but they were better and the match evened out.
That better play paid off for Houston in the 57th minute when Moffat got them level. Sturgis' corner kick was cleared by Olimpia, but right back to Sturgis, who played the ball back in. His second attempt proved more successful. It found Moffat at the top of the six-yard box, where he headed past Noel Valladares.
Four minutes later, the Dynamo went down to 10 men when Sturgis took down Ramiro Bruschi from behind. It was a soft red card, but Sturgis had no business making the challenge and putting the referee in a position to make a decision, especially on the road.
Down a man, Houston packed men behind the ball and did well to limit Olimpia's chances. The home side only had one good opportunity, which Juan Roman Ramirez touched off of the post as Houston just barely scraped by for a valuable point.
The Dynamo have to be loving life right now. They have yet to play at home, while Olimpia have only played at home and they are level with the Hondurans on four points. While the group is far from finished, Houston is sitting awfully pretty right now and should be on their way to the quarterfinals if they can take care of business at BBVA Compass Stadium, where they have never lost a match.