Takeaway Points: Houston Dynamo
The Crew was within eight minutes of being the first team to beat the Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium, but Adam Moffat's blast off the hands of Andy Gruenebaum forced Columbus to settle for one point in a tightly contested MLS Eastern Conference playoff race. Here are three takeaways from the Sunday fixture in Houston:
1. NOT CONTENT
Robert Warzycha and his players made it clear after the game: they were not happy with two points from its past two matches. The Crew were left to lament missed opportunities for six points during the week. With the season well past the halfway point, Columbus is in dire need of points if it hopes to make the playoffs for the fifth-straight season.
“We are in a situation where we have to win the games," Warzycha expressed after Sunday's match. "It’s too bad we lost two points today.”
While upset the team didn't earn the six points it set out for, Eddie Gaven feels there are plenty of positives to build on going forward.
“We are not content with a point," the veteran explained. "We felt we should have six for sure. We feel like we let these games get away from us. I also feel like we played all right at times so we can take some of the things we did well and build off that. If we keep playing with this kind of energy and spirit we will start to win more."
2. GROSSMAN GOLAZO
After Houston took an early lead with Brad Davis' rocket in the 19th minute, the Crew drew even with the Dynamo in the 33rd minute with a one-time bender around Tally Hall to finish a brilliant Dilly Duka attack on the right flank. The strike was Grossman's first of his two-year MLS career.
“Anytime you score, it’s a good feeling," the midfielder said postmatch. "Particularly, first goals have an extra special feeling."
Despite the goal giving Grossman 'an extra special feeling', the Barbasol Man of the Match showed little emotion following the equalizer.
“To be completely honest, it’s really humid [in Houston] and I was really tired," Grossman explained. "We played Wednesday and I was really tired. I knew that a lot of the other guys were exhausted too, so I didn’t want to run to the corner and have everyone else run there too or anything like that. I was just really tired."
Though he has yet to score in 2012, Duka was happy to provide the assist on Grossman's tally.
"I've been saying for a month and a half now, 'I'm gonna get this kid his first goal,'" Duka joked to Grossman as the two exited the locker room Sunday night.
3. HIGUAÍN'S DEBUT
The Crew's newly signed Designated Player Federico Higuaín made his much-anticipated MLS debut at halftime of Sunday night's match, coming on for Justin Meram. The Argentine forward made an instant impact in the Columbus attack, creating chances on his own and also setting up chances for his new teammates. Higuaín showed his class in the 58th minute, pefectly lobbing a ball ahead to Eddie Gaven on a counter attack for the Crew's second goal of the evening.
Only having trained three times since joining the Black & Gold, the new addition felt comfortable in meshing with the Crew attack.
“My first game went very well," Higuaín said. "I felt very comfortable on the field. Unfortunately, I was sad that we didn’t get the three points, which is what we came here for, but we are going in the right direction and this is the work that we need to do to starting getting some wins. “
Higuaín could make his first start Wednesday night as the Crew hosts Toronto FC.