Well, it wasn't pretty but the Dynamo got the result they wanted thanks to a wonder goal and a hometown hero.
The Houston Dynamo won Owen Coyle's first match as manager at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday night.
A brilliant piece of scoring by Giles Barnes in the second half and strong play between the post by Spring native Tyler Deric pushed Houston past the Columbus Crew despite the opposing team generally outplaying the home side in match.
Columbus outshot, out-passed and dominated ball possession against Houston but couldn't convert where it mattered. The Crew owned the ball for 60.8 percent of the game and put six shots on goal but Deric's outstanding goalkeeping kept Columbus off the score sheet.
The Dynamo only had three shots on goal and 73 percent of their passes Saturday night -- including a paltry 54 percent in the final attacking third -- but put it together when it matter.
Both teams played lackluster soccer in a foul-laden first half that featured more blood than goals and only a few scoring chances that neither team could convert. Houston and Columbus combined for one shot on goal, a Houston free kick by Brad Davis in the 23rd minute that Crew keeper Steve Clark punched wide.
In the 57th minute Owen Coyle pulled Will Bruin and put in Leonel Miranda to help spark the offense that seemed to stall out in the final third.
More than an hour passed with neither side getting on the scoreboard but that changed in the 66th minute. Kofi Sarkodie, who had received a large gash on the right side of his head early in the first half after a collision with Raul Rodriguez that caused him to bloody three different jerseys, barreled into the box with the ball from his right-back position and pass the ball to Barnes, who was waiting in the middle of the box.
Barnes wasted no time getting a foot on the ball, rifling it home with a brilliant touch from his right foot to give the Dynamo what would prove to be the lone goal of the game.
Columbus had a chance to score in the 71st minute when Kei Kamara and Federico Higuain linked up outside the box for a shot by Higuain. The shot hit the crossbar and landed in front of Kamara, who tried to follow it up with a shot but was denied by Deric.
Deric saved his team from disaster again during the 87th minute when Kamara, who ended the game with three shots on goal from six total shots and provided the Crew with their closest scoring attempts, headed the ball toward goal, which Deric saved while diving to his right.
A concerning scene happened in stoppage time right after the Barnes substitution. Raul Rodriguez, making his debut at center back for Houston, had to be subbed off the field for an apparent leg injury. It could be a re-aggravation of a hamstring injury he suffered in Houston's 3-0 preseason win over Orlando City last week. He made it off the pitch on his own power and was replaced by former starting center back David Horst.
While the game wasn't overly flashy from either side it was a solid start to the season for Houston and more importantly three points.
Friday, Houston will defend BBVA Compass Stadium for the second week in a row when Orlando City comes to town.
Houston: Deric; Sarkodie, Rodríguez (93' Horst), Taylor, Beasley; García, Clark, Garrido, Davis; Barnes (91' Hoffman), Bruin (57' Miranda)
Columbus: Clark: Grana, Parkhurst, Pogatetz, Francis; Trapp, Tchani (80' Speas); Finlay, Higuaín (75' Jimenez), Steindorsson (80' Schoenfeld); Kamara
Giles Barnes (HOU)- 67'