PREVIEW: Crew SC kicks off Week 2 at Houston

Columbus Crew SC head south to take on the Houston Dynamo on March 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Houston, Texas, to kickoff Week 2 of the Major League Soccer regular season. The cross-conference collision is the first away match for Crew SC in 2017, and will be broadcast on television via Spectrum Sports, The CW Columbus, BCSN2. Live audio will be simulcast on CD 102.5 FM and ColumbusCrewSC.com and in Spanish on La Mega 103.1 FM.

"Movement is the key to our game," Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said after training on Tuesday. "We have to keep moving and opening things up for each other. Houston has speed up top, they're a good counter-attacking team with strength and good players through the middle. Their backline has experience as well.

"Overall, we'll see. I think there will be opportunities for us and we have to be smart."

In the regular season opener against the Chicago Fire at MAPFRE Stadium, the Black & Gold opened the scoring early as midfielder Ethan Finlay got his head on a cross by midfielder Justin Meram in the 15th minute. Although Crew SC dominated the majority of the first half, the lone goal was answered in the second half when David Accam bent a right-footed shot into the far corner in the 73rd minute.

"It's natural to be disappointed with the draw on Saturday against Chicago," Berhalter said. "Especially after leading the game and ending with a tie. We had chances to open the game up. But I think that's part of this early part of the season and we'll have to improve in some areas and look to get some wins."

Chicago had another scoring opportunity in the 83rd minute by Michael de Leeuw. Crew SC, debutant goalkeeper Zack Steffen stood sturdy to keep the score tied at 1-1.

Things played out a bit differently for the Houston Dynamo in their opener. The Dynamo defeated the reigning MLS Cup champions Seattle Sounders, 2-1, at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday.

"The most important thing for us as players is knowing that we have to play our game," Crew SC midfielder Mohammed Abu said. "We know it is tough to play away from home, and that's something we have to keep in mind. They are a very, very good counter-attacking team. We are working on continuing to build our defense and then we will try to create and take our chances."

Similar to Crew SC, Houston dominated the first half with goals in the 20th and 42nd minutes. Erick Torres scored the first off a free kick, and Romell Quioto curled in the second with a right-footed shot. The Sounders put up a fight in the second half with a goal by Clint Dempsey in the 58th minute, but ultimately fell short.

Last season Houston scored 28 goals, 11 of which were in their first three games. They also attempted 466 dribbles, the third-fewest in the league, according to MLSsoccer.com. Columbus beat Houston 1-0 in their only meeting last season while Houston finished their overall season with 50 goals scored.

Crew SC next faces the Houston Dynamo on March 11 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Houston, Texas. The Black & Gold return home on March 25 to host the Portland Timbers for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff at MAPFRE Stadium.


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