With the pressure firmly on his shoulder's to create chances and finish shots, Will Bruin did little to raise Houston's hopes early on. Three clear cut chances were squandered early, as Houston's midfield dominance was rewarded with little more than tragic laughter and the pained screams of a Dancing Bear.
His impotence in front of goal did little to dispel the early afternoon discussions of his Oduro-like finishing.
In response to Bruin's poor finishing, the rest of the Dynamo attack did the one thing they shouldn't do - Moffat notwithstanding - and began to take speculative outside shots that bothered only the soccer moms in Row H.
By the grace of whatever orange-colored God looks over the Dynamo season, the Crew could do little on the other end. Half-hearted attempts from outside the box were easily rebuffed by Hall, raking up valuable fantasy points for my delightfully average team...oh, and it kept the game tied early on, which is much more important. Yet, as the half wore on, the Crew settled into their offensive attack, forcing last-ditch tackles from both Creavalle and Ashe.
Despite their momentary pressure, the best Columbus chance came from the foot of Brad Davis. Attempting to switch the field, Brad sent a perfectly weighted through ball in for Oduro. Under a bit of duress from a defender, Oduro did what he does best and held onto the ball until Tally powerfully slid out to save.
The half ended with plenty of Dynamo possession, but few attempts on goal. Corner turned into throw-in which turned into corner. Stoppage time came and went with a flurry of long balls and tough tackling, but no goals to be seen.
0-0 at the half, with three Bruin chances and some typical Tally Hall excellence keeping things level.
The second half opened with a goal. A lofted ball by Anor found Justin Meram behind the Dynamo line, who easily found Finley on the back post to finish into the roof of the net.
Not letting the Dynamo breathe, Columbus won a penalty. Oduro let a Boswell tug send him hurtling to ground, winning the chance to make it 2-0. Stepping up to the spot, Finley sent the ball just left of middle, and Hall easily parried the chance away. 1-0 still and the Dynamo breathed a sigh of relief.
On the ensuing counterattack, Driver's eagerness to meet a bouncing ball led to an apparent hamstring injury. Barnes came into the match, with yours truly hoping he was just what we needed to flip the game on its head.
To their credit, Houston did create several chances after Giles' introduction, but it was the Crew who would threaten yet again. A lofted corner found Marshall's head, and only Sarkodie's header at the back post prevented another Crew goal.
Chabala entered in the 63rd minute for the injured Corey Ashe. Warm-and-fuzzy feelings aside, this is a less than ideal way to make a comeback away from home.
After trading chances for ten minutes the Crew made it 2-0. Some nifty play across the 18-yard box found Meram, who made Sarkodie hesitate before placing the ball perfectly past Moffat and Hall into the far post.
Instead of...well, responding, the Dynamo nearly gave up a third minutes later. A Crew shot had Tally beat, but Creavalle raced back to clear the ball off the line. If not for his effort, this one could've gone full-on rout, as it had in Montreal.
Short playmakers, Houston introduced Ownby in the hope of some late magic., but the flicker of hope burned out when Boswell's header in the 86th minute struck the crossbar and was cleared. Despite some promising opportunities late in the match, Houston did little to threaten the Columbus goal in earnest. It was a match of what-if's for Houston, as Bruin's early misses, coupled with a lack of any clear-cut playmakers, resulted in a blunted Houston attack. 2-0 Columbus, as only the fact that this was a game in hand kept the Orange from slipping further behind the playoff pace.