Speaking to the media this week, Houston Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear said jumping on teams early will help turn their fortunes on the road. Unfortunately for his club it was the Columbus Crew who got that jump on their way to a 3-0 win Saturday night at Crew Stadium.
Houston looked to be up for the challenge in the first half hour, but a poor touch by David Horst in a tough spot gifted a chance to Justin Meram, who didn’t miss to give the Crew the early lead. The goal was the beginning of the end for the Dynamo, who were left again to deal with another tough outing on the road.
“I thought up until the goal we looked pretty good,” Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com in a phone interview after the game. “I thought that first goal took the wind out of us.”
It’s been that type of season for Houston. They have failed to score first in each of their 12 road games.
After Meram’s opener, the Dynamo failed to respond and two of the tallest forwards in MLS, Adam Bedell and Aaron Schoenfeld, punished them with their heads. First it was Bedell beating Horst to a ball six yards from goal just before he exited for his tall teammate. Five minutes later Schoenfeld cut across Jermaine Taylor and Corey Ashe and redirected a cross to put the final nail in Houston’s coffin.
To go with the struggles at the back, Houston couldn’t capitalize on their chances. The Dynamo outdid Columbus in the shot department, nine to eight, but weren’t able to put any away. That was the case early when Houston had a few chances to get on the board but couldn’t come through.
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On a one-on-one with Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark with the game still scoreless in the 19th minute, Will Bruin was stopped on an athletic save. After that, Horst had a free header on a 42nd-minute set piece that he could not put on frame.
Those missed chances as Houston desperately tried to move above the red line in the Eastern Conference surely sting. It was the type of game that left the club with little to say and more questions than answers away from home.
“I don’t think it was one thing in particular,” Kinnear said. “I don’t think we had a good night. They played pretty well, and you give them credit for that.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.