The Houston Dynamo lost 1 – 0 against Columbus Crew after Kei Kamara put away a penalty kick in the 20th minute. The referee, Kevin Stott, pointed to the spot after Tyler Deric brought down attacking midfielder Federico Higuaín in the 18th minute. He was shown a straight red for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity. While the penalty shot was pretty clear, everything else about the play was less so.
To begin with, the Crew were putting pressure along the far sideline as they worked the ball forward. A pass was squared by the Crew but was instead intercepted by Collen Warner, making his first start. Either the ball ricocheted off of Warner, or he played it back. In either case the ball fell perfectly to Higuaín, who was behind the defense. The far ref initially raised his flag but put it down just as quickly, judging Warner to have played the ball back. Deric rushed off his line and went down to slap the ball away.
The initial tackle missed the ball and player but Deric’s trailing arm clipped Higuaín who went down. Replay shows that Warner and Raul Rodriguez were about level with the tackle in the middle of the box, meaning that Deric wouldn’t have been the last man back.
It’s a card that will be hotly debated all weekend, but in either case Deric was given an early shower after his first 18 minutes of the season and will have to sit out next week’s match against Real Salt Lake.
Down a man, the Dynamo were unable to generate any offense the rest of the game as the Crew dominated possession 73/27. While it may seem that Joe Willis, who came in to replace Deric, would be busy given that possession split, instead the defense did very well to keep the Crew from generating much offense. In particular, Ricardo Clark had an excellent game in the middle of the field while Spanish center back Agus is deserving of a shout out. During his first start he did well to maintain the line and keep the Crew’s forwards offsides (9 times to be exact) and ineffective.
With the home team pushing wider at times, the wingers were forced to work doubly hard defensively, neutralizing their effectiveness offensively.
The best chance for the Dynamo came early in the game when Clark collected the ball at the top of the box and sent a volley past a diving Steve Clark. Unfortunately the shot dinged off the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
After last week’s embarrassing loss to Los Angeles Galaxy, Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle promised several changes to the lineup and he followed through. Deric, Agus, Sheanon Williams and Warner were given their first starts of the season while Bruin was benched in favor of Giles Barnes in the sole striker spot.
With the loss the Dynamo remain in the basement of the Western Conference with 5 points from seven games played. Next up they travel to Rio Tinto Stadium to face of against RSL in Utah on Saturday, April 30. Meanwhile the Crew travel to face off against slumping Seattle Sounders.