Warren Creavalle and Giles Barnes scored six minutes apart in the second half to help the Houston Dynamo beat the Vancouver Whitecaps 2-1 on Saturday night.
With a chance to at least draw even in the 82nd minute, a free kick shot by the Whitecaps' Daigo Kobayashi hit the crossbar and then the left post before bouncing away to a Houston defender.
Those are the kind of bounces the Dynamo (2-1) have been getting for nearly two years now, as their Major League Soccer home unbeaten streak grew to just two shy of Real Salt Lake's league record of 29.
There were other opportunities, too, and Vancouver head coach Martin Rennie chose to look as the result as a positive for his team.
"It always stings when you lose, but tonight I am pleased tonight in terms of our overall play," Rennie said. "There were a couple of moments in the game that were very significant … and we lost a couple of runners in the box.
"Those are the kinds of things we can improve on."
Darren Mattocks scored in the 36th minute for the Whitecaps (2-1), who came just short of being the first visiting team to win in Houston since Columbus on June 18, 2011.
"I thought we played well enough to at least get a point out of this one tonight," said Mattocks, who had a chance later in the match to extend the 1-0 lead for Vancouver. "There are certain areas that we need to improve on."
After Barnes beat Whitecaps goalkeeper Joe Cannon with a header in the 56th minute, Creavalle found a loose ball in the box and kicked it past Cannon in the 62nd minute to win it for the Dynamo, who lost last week in Dallas on a goal in the 90th minute.
Adam Moffett's shot from outside the area was stopped by Cannon, but he couldn't hold on. The ball fell in front of Creavelle, who then scored his first goal of the season and the sixth of his career.
"Those are the kind of things we have to prevent," said Rennie. "But it is a long season, there are still a lot of games left, and this is a hard place to play. I thought Houston played well and the result was an exciting match for everyone who watched."
After Houston failed to convert on its first two scoring chances of the game, Mattocks settled a pass from Erik Hurtado, spun around the Dynamo's Eric Brunner and fired a shot high into the net past Houston goalie Tally Hall.
"I just put myself in a really good position to receive the ball from Erik," said Mattocks. "When I got the ball, I tried to take it across and shoot into the top of the net."
The goal was Mattocks' ninth of his MLS career, seven of which have been on the road.
Cannon finished with two saves for Vancouver, while Hall stopped four for Houston.
"Houston is great, everybody knows that," said Rennie. “We had our chances tonight, and it really came down to the waves of pressure that they threw at us. We should have stood up better to that.
"That is why they are so good here, they just keep coming and coming and coming. You have to stand up to those attacks. We did that about three or four times, but we didn't for a spell, and that cost us the game."