GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala — The Houston Dynamo used a late goal from an American soccer legend to emerge with a 1-0 victory over two-time defending Guatemalan champion CD Guastatoya Tuesday night in the first leg of their Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 series.
Defender DaMarcus Beasley scored the winner in the 84th minute with a blast from outside the penalty area off of a Houston corner kick.
Forward Romell Quioto whipped in the corner, which was headed away by a Guastatoya defender. The left-footed Beasley called off a teammate and uncorked a right-footed blast into the lower right corner of the net to put the Dynamo ahead.
The left back backed up his goal with a stellar night defensively in earning Man of the Match honors from Concacaf.
The Dynamo and Guastatoya will meet again in Houston in the return leg of the home-and-home series next Tuesday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. CDT.
Houston needs a win or a draw at home on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament.
The Dynamo controlled possession throughout the contest as a physical and stingy Guastatoya side sat deep in a 5-3-2 formation and defended with numbers in front of a boisterous home crowd.
Midfielder Juan David Cabezas was the first Dynamo player to have a look at goal when he got free for a shot from distance in the 15th minute, but his blast whistled over the bar.
Cabezas forced a diving save with another long-range blast in the 34th minute. Quioto took a long throw-in deep in the Guastatoya end, and the initial clearance fell to Cabezas outside the area.
His first-touch side-volley took a deflection on its way through, but was destined for the lower right corner before Guastatoya goalkeeper Jose Calderon intervened.
Guastatoya created a pair of dangerous scoring chances midway through the first half through attacking moves down each wing.
In the 16th minute, a push down their right flank resulted in a cross that was headed over the crossbar. Another opportunity came in the 23rd from the opposite side, forcing Dynamo goalkeeper Joe Willis to come off his line to punch the ball out of danger.
Midfielder Tomás Martínez and forward Mauro Manotas linked up for a scoring chance in the 56th minute when Martínez drove through the middle of the Guastatoya defensive block before being hacked down. The ball rolled to Manotas, who quickly collected and fired a right-footed shot that forced a save from Calderon.
Willis came up with a big save in the 77th minute to keep the match scoreless, diving low to his left to smother a Guastatoya shot from distance as attackers buzzed around him sniffing for a rebound. Six minutes later, it was Calderon answering on the other end as he came off his line to deny Quioto at the doorstep, but the resulting corner kick ended with Beasley’s game-winning blast.
The Dynamo return to Houston on Wednesday and will begin preparation for the return leg of the series late this week.