Emilio Renteria scored off an error by backup goalkeeper Tally Hall in the first half and the Crew took advantage of the short-handed Houston Dynamo for two late scores in a comfortable 3-0 victory on Saturday at Crew Stadium.
Renteria put the Crew ahead in the 34th minute and Andy Iro (84th) and Leandre Griffit (90th) added goals after Houston's Bobby Boswell was ejected.
Houston is now winless (0-4-3) in its last seven MLS games as the Dynamo played in their third match in six days following a pair of SuperLiga tilts.
The Crew got on top on what could only be described as a “howler” by Houston backup goalkeeper Tally Hall when his misplay of a grounder led to Renteria’s fourth of the season in the 34th minute.
Hall stepped out of the penalty area on the right side to field an innocent looking ball from Eddie Gaven that was too long for Renteria. As the ball approached, Hall he backpedaled and fell down’ leaving Renteria with a clear path to the goal.
Renteria nearly made the Dynamo pay for another mistake in stoppage time of the first half as he split two defenders waiting for the ball and was able to chip a shot on the charging Hall but this time the keeper made the save. Hall was again called upon nearly 20 minutes into the second half to save a Robbie Rogers effort near post to keep the Dynamo within reach.
However, the visitors would go down to 10 men after losing Boswell to a second caution in the 72nd minute when he battled Renteria for a ball. Boswell’s first yellow came in the 40th minute when he tried to slow down a Renteria attack.
Iro later scored with his left foot off a Guillermo Barros Schelotto free kick and Griffit, the Frenchman who made his MLS debut two minutes earlier, netted a rebound goal to seal the result.
The big news for Houston was the absence of goalkeeper Pat Onstad from an MLS game for the first time due to injury or suspension since April 19, 2008, when he had a shoulder sprain. Onstad aggravated an abdominal strain Friday and did not play as a precautionary measure. He started 72 consecutive league games, excepting Canadian national team duty.
Hall, who played the past three SuperLiga games (two goals allowed), made his second MLS start. His first came May 22, also the last time the Dynamo won in MLS.
Columbus had to make several changes due to the red-card suspension of defender Frankie Hejduk and midfielder Brian Carroll’s sprained right ankle.
Danny O’Rourke subbed for Hejduk at right back while Gaven moved from the right wing to the middle and Emmanuel Ekpo made his fourth start. Also, rookie left back Shaun Francis, who made his debut off the bench last week vs. New York, got the start while Gino Padula was a healthy scratch.
Both teams play next on July 31. The Crew is at Chivas USA and Houston hosts host New York.
CLB -- Emilio Renteria 4 (unassisted) 34
CLB -- Andy Iro 3 (Guillermo Barros Schelotto 6) 84
CLB -- Leandre Griffit 1 (unassisted) 90
HOU -- Mike Chabala (caution; Reckless Tackle) 2
CLB -- Danny O'Rourke (caution; Reckless Tackle) 22
HOU -- Bobby Boswell (caution; Tactical Foul) 40
HOU -- Bobby Boswell (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 72
HOU -- Bobby Boswell (ejection; Second Caution) 72
Houston Dynamo -- Tally Hall, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson, Mike Chabala, Corey Ashe (Danny Cruz 57), Richard Mulrooney (Dominic Oduro 79), Lovel Palmer, Brad Davis, Brian Ching, Cam Weaver (Joseph Ngwenya 46).
Substitutes Not Used: Ryan Cochrane, Anthony Obodai, Adrian Serioux, Pat Onstad.
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Danny O'Rourke, Chad Marshall, Andy Iro, Shaun Francis, Eddie Gaven, Adam Moffat, Robbie Rogers (Leandre Griffit 88), Emmanuel Ekpo (Jed Zayner 80), Emilio Renteria (Jason Garey 74), Guillermo Barros Schelotto.
Substitutes Not Used: Eric Brunner, Duncan Oughton, Gino Padula, Andy Gruenebaum.
Referee: Alex Prus
Referee's Assistants: -Craig Lowry; C.J. Morgante
4th Official: Hilario Grajeda
Time of Game: 1:47
Weather: Cloudy and 89 degrees