COLUMBUS – Will Bruin scored the first Houston goal and assisted on the tying marker by Brian Ching in the 81st minute to counter a pair of goals by Eddie Gaven as the Dynamo tied the Crew 2-2 at Crew Stadium on Saturday.
The Dynamo survived a late onslaught to move to 2-1-2 with two games remaining on their season-opening road swing before christening BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12 vs. D.C. United.
Columbus (2-3-1) ended a two-game losing streak but could not secure the three points, despite a thundering blast from Gaven in the 74th minute that looked like it would stand up as an emphatic game-winner.
Instead the last laugh went to Bruin and Ching, who hooked up in the waning minutes to give the Dynamo their second consecutive draw.
The Crew, however, nearly salvaged the win in the 89th minute, but Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall made two point-blank saves on Vargas before defender Andre Hainault cleared an attempt off the goal line by Aaron Schonfeld.
After a sleepy first half, Bruin started the scoring in the 58th minute. After Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum tipped a shot from Brian Ching over the bar to set up a corner kick, Bruin nodded home Adam Moffat’s in-swinging ball with the back of his head for his second goal in as many games.
The Crew tied the score four minutes later on a strange sequence that began with a goal kick from Gruenebaum to Milovan Mirosevic for a flick that Hainault knocked back to teammate Geoff Cameron. He pushed the ball back to Hall, who tried to clear it with his head but instead put the ball to Gaven.
He had a weak shot toward goal that Hainault got a foot as he tried to steer it away from the Crew’s Emilio Rentería, but the scrappy goal was good enough to pull the Crew even.
Gaven’s second goal was easily the finish of the night, and helped break the Crew star break out of an early-season scoring drought. Second-half substitute Aaron Schonfeld chested a ball down just outside the box to an onrushing Gaven, who one-timed a left-footed shot past a helpless Hall and into the back of the net.
But then another moment to shine for Bruin, who found space on the right side of the box and placed a perfect pass between Crew defenders Chad Marshall and Sebastian Miranda that enabled Ching to run onto the ball for the redirect.
The goal was the first of the season for Ching.
Houston welcomed back Moffat [the former Crew midfielder] from a one-game suspension for a reckless challenge March 23 against Seattle, but Brad Davis missed his second straight game because of a left calf strain. Colin Clark missed the game while he served the second of a three-game suspension.
Nemanja Vukovic and Josh Williams got their first starts for the Crew as Shaun Francis and Eric Gehrig went to the bench. Midfielder Danny O’Rourke replaced rookie Kirk Urso at defensive midfield, while Tony Tchani got the nod over midfielder Ethan Finlay and Renteria returned from a benching against Philadelphia to start at forward over Schonfeld.
Houston return to action at D.C. United on April 28, while the Crew host Vancouver the same day.
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Will Bruin||Two goals in two games for the Dancing Bear, despite taking an early knock to the head. Plus, a nifty assist when it counted.|
|2||Eddie Gaven||The Crew have been waiting all season for his gorgeous one-timer, and he was in the right spot on Houston's clumsy giveaway.|
|3||Tally Hall||The Dynamo banked a huge road point because Hall stood on his head late. Olman Vargas will see Hall in his dreams.|