The opener was the first of two on the evening for Zardes, with Jonathan Mensah and new Designated Player Lucas Zelarayan also finding the scoresheet for Columbus, which struck for all four goals in the first half.
Zardes found the opener for Columbus just 35 seconds into the match, the second straight preseason fixture for Crew SC that has seen them strike inside the first minute.
Next came a tally from Mensah, which he scored in the fourth minute off a corner kick.
Zelarayan then added the third in the 16th minute with a nifty solo effort that saw him slot home a breakaway finish.
Columbus continued the early onslaught in the 23rd minute, with Zardes completing his brace with a goal from close range.
- 1' - CLB - Gyasi Zardes
- 4' - CLB - Jonathan Mensah
- 16' - CLB - Lucas Zelarayan
- 23' - CLB - Gyasi Zardes
- 52' - HOU - Tommy McNamara
Columbus Crew SC starting XI: Eloy Room; Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Vito Wormgoor, Milton Valenzuela; Darlington Nagbe, Artur, Pedro Santos, Lucas Zelarayan, Youness Mokhtar; Gyasi Zardes
Houston Dynamo starting XI: Marko Maric; Zarek Valentin, Alejandro Fuenmayor, Maynor Figueroa, Adam Lundkvist; Matias Vera, Tomas Martinez, Tommy McNamara; Niko Hansen, Mauro Manotas, Memo Rodriguez