By JUSTIN FERGUSON
Even with the exciting news of new ownership at the Columbus Crew coming earlier in the week, the team in black and yellow continued their on-the-field struggles on Saturday night with a loss against a team that is currently one of the league’s hottest.
The Crew dropped their third straight match, a 3-1 road loss to the Houston Dynamo, who are undefeated in their last four. First-half goals from Brad Davis and Will Bruin helped push the Dynamo into what would be a playoff-qualifying fifth-place finish in the Eastern Conference.
Davis put Houston on the board in the 10th minute with a penalty conversion. Giles Barnes drew a Chad Marshall foul in the box after a great run through the Columbus defense, and Davis was able to beat Columbus goalkeeper Matt Lampson for the opener.
The Crew did not fold after the early penalty and started to create several chances on Tally Hall’s goal. Unfortunately for the visitors, none of those chances led to equalizers, and Bruin was able to make them pay with a drought-ending goal in his first match back from Gold Cup duty.
Oscar Boniek Garcia created the chance with a great takeaway of Agustin Viana and a perfectly placed diagonal pass. After a couple of touches, Bruin slotted the ball past Lampson for the 31st minute goal, making it 2-0 in favor of the hosts.
Columbus continued to attack Hall’s goal, mostly through playmaker Federico Higuain, but the visiting club was unable to get on the scoreboard until an unlikely break for Houston defender Kofi Sarkodie.
An errant shot from Crew substitute Kevan George fell to teammate Ryan Finley in the box. Before Finley could hit a shot on goal, Sarkodie’s foot flew onto the ball, sending a shot past Hall for the own goal in the 75th minute.
The Crew pushed hard for an equalizer and forced Hall to make a save moments later. On the other end, the Dynamo looked to seal the win with some attacks of their own.
With seven minutes of regular time remaining, Houston found the crucial third goal. After scoring the Dynamo’s lone goal in last week’s 1-1 draw with the Fire, Cam Weaver came off the bench and delivered an 83rd-minute rocket from outside the box to make it 3-1.
Columbus could not muster any more offense after Weaver’s goal, and the Dynamo rode out the final minutes to seal their third win in four matches.
Houston (9-6-6) hit the road next Saturday to take on Western Conference leaders Real Salt Lake. Columbus (6-11-5) will try to end its losing skid with a home match against the Eastern Conference-leading New York Red Bulls.
Here are the match highlights: