Columbus Crew SC 1, Houston Dynamo 0 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
The slumping Houston Dynamo made significant tweaks to their formation and lineup against Columbus Crew SC on Saturday night, including a first start of 2016 for goalkeeper Tyler Deric.
Unfortunately for Owen Coyle & Co., it all flew out the window just 18 minutes in, when Deric's night ended prematurely via a foul on Federico Higuain in the Houston box that earned a penalty kick and straight red card for denial of a goal-scoring opportunity. Kei Kamara beat Deric's replacement Joe Willis from the spot for what would eventually prove the game-winner, his third strike of the year.
The Dynamo battened down the hatches and defended stoutly and intelligently down the stretch, keeping themselves within striking distance. But the visitors could create little danger in the attacking end and their winless skid has now run to five straight, while Columbus have won two in a row.
1. DYNAMO DEFERRED: Coyle's lineup changes were significant -- a 4-1-4-1 shape and first appearances of the year for Deric, Collen Warner, Sheanon Williams and Agus. But the early red prevented anyone from getting a full idea of whether they offered significant improvement. Regardless, the Orange still have just one win and five points and are adrift at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.
2. UGLY, BUT GOOD: As the defending East champs, Crew SC would expect to create more offensively against 10 men than they did on this occasion. But given their struggles at the outset of the season, they'll welcome a home win and a clean sheet just the same, a reality Kamara acknowledged postgame. Maybe the return to their classic all-gold kits for the first time this year brought them luck?
3. NOTHING GIVEN, NOTHING GAINED: If just one chance had gone in for Houston, their careful defensive organization would've been the story of the night. Agus and Raul Rodriguez marshalled the back line expertly, leaving Crew SC stuck in training-ground keepaway mode, as the one-sided possession stats indicated:
They Said It
“It was a tough one today, I've got to be honest ... but it's great to have two wins, because it was a rough start to the season for us. Hopefully this is a momentum-builder.”
- Kei Kamara, in postgame remarks to sideline reporter Alex Stec