HOUSTON – May has been good a good month for Brad Davis and Will Bruin so far, as the duo led the Houston Dynamo to three points in a 1-0 midweek win over the visiting Columbus Crew on Wednesday.
The St. Louis natives combined to break the scoreless deadlock in the 50th minute at BBVA Compass Stadium. The two linked up on free kick in an unconventional manner, as Davis put the ball in the middle of a group in Columbus' box and it was the back of Bruin’s head that made the contact to fool Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark and give the Dynamo the lead.
Regardless, Bruin, who worked off an excellent pick from Andrew Driver, got his third goal in three games. It was Davis’ fourth assist in five games. Bruin is the first Dynamo player to score in three consecutive games since Stuart Holden did it in 2009.
The win jumps Houston into a four-way tie for first place in the Eastern Conference while Columbus’ winless streak goes to six games.
Crew substitute Justin Meram came a post away from pulling out a point in the 83rd minute, but his long range effort off a one-man break beat Dynamo 'keeper Tally Hall but found only the woodwork.
The deficit was unkind to the visitors, as Columbus pushed the pace early and often. The visitors used their speed and the passing of Federico Higuain to put Houston’s goal under siege. Columbus managed 18 shots total, eight in the first half, to the Dynamo’s 11.
In the 24th minute, Jairo Arrieta, who was good early, forced Hall into action after cutting around David Horst for a hard shot. Hall fumbled the shot, but Higuain could not gear down quickly enough to handle the rebound.
Hall came up with a massive double save to preserve the scoreless half six minutes later. Off a corner kick, Giancarlo Gonzalez attempted to redirect a shot at Hall; it was stuffed by a lunging stop from the Dynamo ‘keeper. The rebound looked to be handled by Arrieta in the box, however there was no call, forcing Hall back into action.
Houston came back to life in the final five minutes of the half with Driver coming close on a counter but shooting wide and Giles Barnes finally forced Clark into action in the 41st minute, but his long range shot was turned back.
After the break, the Crew came out of the halftime break looking for a goal but Bernardo Añor was wide. Five minutes later, Bruin made the misses costly, putting Houston ahead for good.
Columbus did not go without a fight. Waylon Francis, who lost Bruin on the goal, forced a leaping save from Hall and minutes later Arrieta took a turn-and-fire shot from point blank range after that, but again the Dynamo ‘keeper was up for the challenge.
Houston remains home Sunday to host Real Salt Lake. Columbus will host the Vancouver Whitecaps Saturday.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Servando Carrasco||In what amounted to a very close duel, Carrasco's ability to boss Dynamo midfield helped the hosts grab the narrow victory|
|2||Tally Hall||Did his part as well for Houston on the defensive side of the ball, as two key saves helped preserve the shutout|
|3||Federico Higuain||He didn't really push the game by taking shots himself, but his passing was assured and worked to set up teammates time and again|