By Ricky Zililo
Zimbabwe international defender Teenage Hadebe played his second match for his new side Houston Dynamo since moving to the United States of America last month.
Houston Dynamo drew 1-1 away to San Jose Earthquakes at PayPal Park on Saturday night.
The 25-year-old defender, who is Houston Dynamo’s most expensive player, made his debut last week in another away fixture that ended in a goalless draw against Vancouver Whitecaps.
Hadebe missed his team’s 0-2 away defeat to Western Conference leaders Seattle Sounders a fortnight ago, as he had just completed his mandatory quarantine period after international travel. Matias Vera gave Dynamo the lead with his second goal of the season, a thunderous 20-metre pile driver shortly before half-time.
However, Cristian Espinoza’s free-kick pressured Dynamo fullback Zarek Valentin into conceding an own-goal deep into first-half stoppage time.
The Earthquakes had arguably the more dangerous chances in the second-half and thought they had collected maximum points in stoppage time when Carlos Fierro’s free kick from the left flank nestled into the far-right post.
Assistant referee Cory Richardson, however, adjudged that Andy Rios was offside and involved in the play. Video assistant referee (VAR) Hilario Grajeda didn’t deem it worthy of review and the two sides shared the spoils.
The Earthquakes have now drawn four matches in a row in an 11-match winless stretch, while Dynamo have gone on an eight-match run with a win. They have drawn six times and lost twice during this winless streak.
Hadebe is still searching for his first win and will be hope to be his team’s lucky charm when he encounters Dynamo fans for the first time in their next home game against Real Salt Lake on August 1.
The draw left Dynamo in ninth place with 17 points from 15 games and battling for a final series play-off slot with Real Salt Lake, who are two places above Hadebe’s side with 20 points.
The team that finishes top of the Western Conference league gets automatic passage to the final series, while teams that finish within the top seven go for play-offs.
Participating in the play-offs will only serve to give Hadebe more game time to adjust to the United States’ type of football.
Hadebe joins the growing ranks of Zimbabweans that plied their trade in the United States’ Major League Soccer, who include Mkhokheli Dube, Vitalis Takawira, Lucky Mkhosana and Mubariki Chisoni. The Chronicle