Major League Soccer's second week of the 2017 regular season pitted two sides aiming to redeem their 2016 campaigns, with the Houston Dynamo hosting Columbus Crew SC at BBVA Compass Stadium on Saturday. The home side capitalized on their limited chances — taking just four shots on target and converting three of them — in Crew SC's 3-1 loss.
Deep into stoppage time, Crew SC's 2016 Golden Boot winner Ola Kamara opened his 2017 account with a clean finish in the 93rd minute. Jukka Raitala fed midfielder Justin Meram, who laced the onrushing Kamara to spoil the shutout in Houston.
It was Meram's sixth assist in as many regular season matches, stretching back into 2016.
Crew SC dominated every statistical category, but couldn't beat Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric on the night. Houston was forced into three saves, committing 10 fouls and making 24 defensive clearances — nearly tripling Crew SC's totals in comparison.
The Dynamo got started early with their pressure, picking off a pass in the Columbus defensive third in just the second minute. Romell Quioto charged in on Zack Steffen and fired the low, far-post shot into the net. Houston added their second just 10 minutes before halftime, as Alberth Elis converted a corner kick delivery with a snapshot from 6-yards out.
Houston sealed their result when Erick Torres broke free in the 65th minute, cutting in from the left side to curl an 18-yard dart into the upper corner.
Crew SC next faces D.C. United on March 18 at 7 p.m. ET at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. The Black & Gold return home on March 25 to host the Portland Timbers for a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff at MAPFRE Stadium.
2’ – HOU – Romell Quioto
35’ – HOU – Alberth Elis (Alex)
65' – HOU – Erick Torres (Alex)
90+' – CLB – Ola Kamara (Jukka Raitala, Justin Meram)
On his 21st birthday, Brazilian midfielder Artur made his first career start in MLS. The birthday boy completed 74 passes in just 58 minutes of action. He was substituted for Mohammed Abu in the second half.
Houston and Columbus met for the first and only time in 2017's regular season. Columbus and Houston played against each other once last year at MAPFRE Stadium, with Columbus winning via a 1-0 scoreline. All-time, Crew SC is 7-6-10 against Houston and has never beaten them at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.
Just days after his multi-year contract extension was announced by Columbus, Meram recorded his 26th career goal — all having come in the Black & Gold. Saturday's helper continued his streak of consecutive matches with an assist, running back to Oct. 1, 2016.
Answering the Call
Connor Maloney made his MLS debut after being selected in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by Crew SC out of Pennsylvania State University. Entering for Harrison Afful at halftime, Maloney closed out the final 45 minutes in Houston.