The scene was set for the Houston Dynamo to take their first road win of the season. They were up 1-0 coming out of halftime and had played with a man advantage since the 11th minute.
But in the second half, for Houston, things changed for the worse.
In the span of 12 minutes the Dynamo saw two penalties called for Columbus and suddenly found themselves on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline in the late stages of the game. After clawing back on an 86th-minute Calen Carr goal – his first in orange – the Dynamo looked to miss out on a call that could have set up a penalty kick to possibly win the game, and it finished 2-2.
WATCH: Full Match Highlights
“There were some questionable calls that went against us,” Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear told MLSsoccer.com by phone after the match. “We fought back late to get back in the game and then I thought there was an easy penalty at the end there, but the ref didn’t call it.”
The call in question came minutes before the final whistle when Jermaine Taylor – who notched his first assist of the year when he found Je-Vaughn Watson with a cross at the back post to give Houston a 1-0 lead – sent a ball in for Cam Weaver. Columbus defender Sebastián Miranda looked to head the ball off his arm in the penalty box.
Despite the contact, referee Chris Penso declined to blow his whistle.
It added insult to injury as Houston saw Weaver concede a penalty on a handball in the 64th minute, while Watson was whistled for a foul in the box just 12 minutes later. On both occasions, Andrés Mendoza knocked home the penalty, giving the Crew the lead despite Houston’s domination of possession and chances created.
“I thought the second looked like a penalty, the one with Je-Vaughn, but I couldn’t see the first one,” Kinnear said of the call on Weaver. “But the one at the end was on our side of the field and that was a clear penalty.”
Questionable calls aside, despite being up a man for 79 minutes the Dynamo found themselves in a similar position: looking for a late equalizer.
Again the Dynamo came through late when Carr’s 86th-minute volley turned what would have been a crushing defeat into something positive Houston can take home.
But even with the result, one can assume that Wednesday’s game is a case of two points lost instead of one gained.
“Disappointing,” Kinnear said when asked about his feelings about the result. “I hate saying that, but it’s disappointing.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.