Columbus Crew SC (10-7-6) continues Major League Soccer regular-season action on Saturday, Aug. 11 after a Week 23 bye, as the Black & Gold return to MAPFRE Stadium to host the Houston Dynamo (7-9-6) at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Saturday will be the first match in the month of August for Crew SC while Houston is seeing their third match in just eight days. On July 28, Columbus traveled to face the New York Red Bulls and took home an important three points, becoming one of only two teams to beat the Red Bulls at home this season.
Three first-half goals from — one each from Jonathan Mensah and Patrick Mullins in addition to an own goal from Red Bull’s Sean Davis — led Columbus to its 10th win of the season. The Red Bulls found two goals in the second half but were unable to secure an equalizer.
Columbus is currently unbeaten in its last two home games, scoring a total of five goals. On July 21, Columbus stunned Orlando City SC with a 35-yard rocket from captain Wil Trap two minutes into extra time to secure a 3-2 victory at MAPFRE Stadium.
As for Houston, the Dynamo are coming to the end of a long week after seeing a regular-season loss to Sporting Kansas City on Aug. 4 and an Open Cup semifinal victory against LAFC on Aug. 8. Against LAFC, Houston won 3-3 (7-6 - PKs) to clinch a showdown with the Philadelphia Union in the Open Cup final.
Last Saturday, the Dynamo suffered a late 1-0 loss to Sporting KC. Houston saw 4 red cards on the night, including one shown to Dynamo manager Wilmer Cabrera. In the 14th minute, Houston was down a man as Alejandro Fuenmayor was shown a straight red card. Two additional red cards were shown in stoppage time to Houston’s Darwin Ceren and Alberth Ellis.
Looking ahead to Saturday, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter understands the individual strength that Houston brings to the pitch.
“I think (Houston is) dangerous...because if you think about it they are going to come here with the mindset that they have nothing to lose and it’s a tricky game,” Berhalter said.
“They are going to be coming off of an emotional Open Cup game and they know their backs are against the wall missing some of their key players. So, I think that’s an even more difficult game. I see this as a trap game, a really difficult game for us because we know they have quality, we know they have individual quality and we know they can win games with individual performances. We have to be wary of them because I think they are going to be dangerous.”
In their last meeting, Columbus suffered a 3-1 loss to Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium in week two of the 2017 MLS regular season. The Black & Gold dominated every statistical category but could not produce a victory. However, Ola Kamara shut down the possibility of a Houston shutout with a clean finish from Jukka Raitala and Justin Meram in the 93rd minute.
Houston currently sits in 10th-place in the Western Conference and is second in shots on target (133) amongst the League. The Dynamo are also seventh in goals (39), while having the fifth-lowest save percentage in MLS (64.52 percent). Crew SC holds a 7-6-10 all-time record against Houston.
Next up, the Black and Gold hit the road for an early Sunday evening game against Atlanta United. The match kicks off at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 4 p.m. ET.