Preview: Houston Dynamo vs. Columbus Crew


Aug 3, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Columbus Crew midfielder Tony Tchani (6) breaks past Houston Dynamo forward Jason Johnson (14) during the second half at BBVA Compass Stadium. Houston beat Columbus 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

The Teams

Columbus Crew (3-2-3) 12 points, 4th West, 9th Overall

Columbus finds itself in the same situation that Houston was in prior to the weekend, being winless since the beginning of the season. The last time they obtained a victory was in their 3rd game of the season. They then lost against Toronto before entering a three-game streak of nothing of draws.

The Crew come into Houston having just lost against Sporting Kansas City in a nightmarish game for them. Not only did they lose two goals to nil, but one of their best players was red carded, Wil Trapp, and will now miss the game against Houston. Trapp is a key loss for the Crew, having recorded two assists and being a key piece of their midfield. He has started all 8 games for them.

However, Trapp’s absence  should not ease Houston’s nerves entering this game, because Columbus still has an experienced midfielder in Hector Jimenez. Jimenez is capable of setting up plays for their lead scorer Federico Higuain, but is also capable of scoring himself.

Houston Dynamo (3-4-2) 11 points, 6th East, 11th Overall

Nothing can change a team’s attitude and outlook on life like a victory! Just a few days ago we were panicking and calling for Dom’s head (sorta). However, now one victory later, Houston is back in contention for a playoff spot.

Aug 3, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Columbus Crew defender Josh Williams (3) clears the ball against the Houston Dynamo during the first half at BBVA Compass Stadium. Houston beat Columbus 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Not only are they back in contention, but Will Bruin, or as I call him “their undependable striker”, scored a goal and earned a penalty on a beautiful play. I will be the first to admit that even though he scored more goals in the first game of the season, Bruin played his best game this past Saturday against Chivas USA. His goal showed almost perfect form in stopping a ball and controlling a ball after a pass with his back towards goal, and then using his body to push a defender off turning around and hitting a ball perfectly for a goal.

This type of goal is what many fans have been looking for and the Dynamo has been missing since Brian Ching’s heyday. If one were to study Bruin’s stats, they actually aren’t all that bad. He has a goal for every three shots on target. Those aren’t amazing numbers but they aren’t all that bad either. If he keeps on playing in this fashion we may have found Ching’s replacement, and in Barnes we may have DeRosario’s heir.

Barnes has been getting lots of shots but neither of them had amounted to anything. He has 32 shots with only 9 of those on target, however, he finally scored on Saturday. Barnes had one of the best goals of the season so far, and all of it came from an amazing pass from none other than Boniek Garcia. If everybody keeps on clicking on all cylinders like they did against, albeit weak, Chivas USA, we may actually salvage this season and turn it into something special.


My last prediction was pretty accurate. I said that Houston needed to test out the goalie by shooting from distance, which is exactly what Barnes did, and I was also only one goal off since I predicted a 3-1 instead of 4-1. That’s not entirely my fault, I didn’t expect a penalty.

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In all seriousness, though, that was the game plan that had to be followed and they did exactly that. The plan against Columbus is a little different. Houston will need to control the midfield. The Crew are missing one of their best midfielders, which should lead to much more Houston possession than usual. As long as now major midfield mistakes are made Houston should be able to have an open route to the forwards.

Barnes will have to play a little further back and play more free, just like he did against Chivas USA, in order to be the gateway between the mid and Will Bruin. This quasi-extra midfielder will be enough to choke the Crew’s midfield and make them powerless against Houston. The only way Columbus will get on the score sheet will be on a counterattack or  long ball into the area. As long as Houston doesn’t fall asleep on defense, these should be easy to ward off. 

Score: 2-0 Houston

Injury Report:

Columbus: Out- Kingsley “Fifi” Baden, Matt Wiet

Houston: Out- Eric Brunner, Tony Cascio, Ricardo Clark; Questionable- Omar Cummings

Discipline Report:

Columbus: M Wil Trapp (Red Card)

Houston: None

Possible Line-Ups:

Columbus: GK- Clark; D- Francis, Parkhurt, Gonzalez, Williams; M- Anor, Tchani, Meram, Jimenez; F- Higuain, Arrieta

Houston: GK- Hall; D- Ashe, Horst, Taylor, Sarkodie; M- Driver, Carrasco, Davis, Garcia; F- Barnes, Bruin

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