Set piece execution. Solid defending. If Houston would have added a counter attack goal on Wednesday, it would have fully played to the cliché that often floats around Dom Kinnear’s team. Against visiting Columbus, however, they didn’t need it that second goal.
Thanks to a Brad Davis second half restart that appeared to go off Will Bruin’s back, the Dynamo were able to claim a 1-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium, a result that leaves the team on a two-game winning streak. Columbus, on the other had, were shut out for the second match in a row, with the team winless in six after suffering its third loss of the season.
The game played out as you would expect, given the two teams’ styles and personnel. Columbus were able to control more of the ball, holding 56 percent of the game’s possession at match’s end. Perhaps surprisingly, the Crew were also able to register 18 shots (to Houston’s 11), five of which tested Tally Hall. In the second half Justin Meram can close to an equalizer only to hit Hall’s right post.
Houston’s response to the Crew’s play: Execution. At the back, the team made sure few of their guest’s chances were good ones, while all the offense they’d need came in the 50th minute. After a foul down their left by Tony Tchani, the Dynamo saw their captain play his restart just inside the six-yard box, with Bruin beating his man to redirect the cross off the name on his shirt and into goal.
The result leaves the teams moving in opposite directions, though those trends paint a deceiving picture for one of the teams. For Houston, the team has moved on from the embarrassing loss it suffered in New York, answering the questions that lingered after its convincing victory this weekend. While the level of competition may have been an issue against Chivas USA, Columbus showed it’s a quality team.
That’s why those drawing conclusions from the Crew’s winless run will be deceived about Gregg Berhalter’s team. They were fine this weekend in Kansas but ended up on the wrong end of a close result; against the defending champions, no less. Again on Wednesday, the Crew were fine but just ended up on the wrong end of another close result. Life on the road isn’t always kind.
Columbus’s problem isn’t how it’s playing now, it’s how the team was playing in the middle of its run, only getting draws at home against D.C. United and New York. If the Crew can end their current level of play next week against visiting Vancouver, they should be able to get back into the win column.