Sebastian Ferreira scored twice in a nine-minute stretch of the first half as the visiting Houston Dynamo beat playoff-bound Nashville SC on Sunday in a late-season Western Conference match.
Nashville had already earned a spot in the MLS postseason — its third in three years of existence — due to Portland’s loss to Los Angeles FC earlier in the day. But the loss Sunday dropped Nashville (12-10-11, 47 points) into fifth place in the West and out of a home playoff game with one match remaining in the regular season
Houston (10-17-6, 36 points), which is mired in 13th place in the 14-team conference and has long been eliminated from the postseason, played one of its best matches of the season and improved its record under interim head coach Kenny Bundy to 2-1-1 with a match left to play.
Nashville had an excellent chance to open the scoring in the 22nd minute when Hany Mukhtar lifted a shot over Dynamo keeper Steve Clark that bounced up and off the crossbar.
In a bizarre turn of events at the first dead ball following Mukhtar’s near-miss, VAR was used to check into a potential foul in the defensive box by Nashville’s Walker Zimmerman that happened before Mukhtar’s run up the field.
VAR ruled that Zimmerman had fouled Corey Baird in the box, granting Houston a penalty kick. Ferreira converted from the spot in the 30th minute, scoring his team-leading 11th goal of the year and handing the Dynamo a 1-0 lead.
Ferreira added another goal in the 39th minute as the beneficiary of a breakaway crossing pass from Darwin Quintero. Quintero picked the pocket of Nashville defender Dave Romney near midfield and outraced Romney to the offensive end before laying off a pass that Ferreira steadied before beating goalkeeper Joe Willis.
The Dynamo were forced to play the final three minutes of second-half stoppage time with 10 men after Teenage Hadebe was given a second yellow card in the match, and that opened the door for Nashville just a crack.
The home side cut Houston’s lead to 2-1 on Zimmerman’s header off a Daniel Lovitz corner kick six minutes into stoppage time, but it was too little, too late.
–Field Level Media