COLUMBUS - Columbus Crew SC secured its second three-match win streak of the season on Saturday night with a stoppage-time strike from forward Gyasi Zardes, as the Black & Gold (11-7-6) topped the Houston Dynamo 1-0 at MAPFRE Stadium.
Under a minute into second-half stoppage time, Harrison Afful sent in a lofting cross from the flank for Zardes, who sent a one-touch ball into the back left corner of the net.
A scoreless 90 minutes for Houston (7-10-6) saw Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen record 5 saves. On the other side, Columbus recorded five shots on target. In the 30th minute, Pedro Santos came inches away from breaking open the game's scoring with a shot attempt from outside the box but was denied by the post.
In the second half, Justin Meram made his return to MAPFRE Stadium, coming on for Mike Grella. The midfielder was acquired from Orlando City SC last week in exchange for $750,000 in Targeted Allocation Money and an international roster slot for the 2019 MLS season.
Columbus and Houston were level on shots for the evening but Crew SC out-passed and out-possessed the Dynamo, 88 and 57 percent respectively. Columbus is unbeaten in its last three matches at MAPFRE Stadium, dating back to its victory over Real Salt Lake on June 30.
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.
- With tonight’s 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo, Zack Steffen has now recorded 25 wins in a Crew SC uniform. In addition, the clean sheet is his 17th regular-season shutout since joining MLS and his eighth sheet in the 2018 MLS regular season. Should Steffen register one more shutout in regular-season action this season, he would equal the nine shutouts he registered last season. Since joining the Black & Gold in 2016, Steffen has made 53 appearances (all starts), registering 17 clean sheets while providing 144 saves.
- Justin Meram made his 2018 Crew SC debut in tonight’s match against the Houston Dynamo. Crew SC re-acquired Meram from Orlando City SC in a trade on August 3, 2018. Since making his MLS debut in 2011, Meram has made 205 MLS regular-season appearances (148 starts), scoring 38 goals and providing 36 assists.
- With tonight’s victory over the Dynamo, Crew SC extends its undefeated home streak against Houston to 10 matches dating back to 2008. The Black & Gold now have a 7-0-3 record over that span, having outscored the visitors 18-6.
- Gyasi Zardes scored his 14th goal of the 2018 MLS regular season in tonight’s match against the Houston Dynamo. The forward scored off of a cross from Harrison Afful in the first minute of second half stoppage time. Zardes’ last goal came on July 21st of this season in a home match against Orlando City SC. Notably Zardes has scored in each of Crew SC’s last three regular-season matches. Since making his MLS debut with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2013, Zardes has made 155 regular-season appearances (140 starts), tallying 48 goals and 17 assists.
- Harrison Afful recorded an assist in tonight’s match against the Houston Dynamo on Gyasi Zardes’ goal in the first minute of second half stoppage time. With this assist, Afful has now tallied 11 assists in 85 MLS regular-season appearances (82 starts). Additionally, Afful’s assist marks his third consecutive match in registering an assist, following his helpers on Gyasi Zardes’ 51st minute goal against Orlando City SC on July 21 and Patrick Mullins’ 24th-minute goal against the New York Red Bulls on July 28. Afful joined the Black & Gold in 2015 and has scored four goals to go with his 11 assists.
- Tonight’s match against the Houston Dynamo marked the first time that Crew SC’s Argentine trio of defender Milton Valenzuela, defender Gaston Sauro and midfielder Federico Higuain have played together this season across all competitions.
- Columbus Crew SC is now 10-1-2 when scoring first this season (7-1-2 when scoring first at home). The Black & Gold are now 11-1-3 when scoring this season (8-1-3 at home)
- With tonight’s victory, Crew SC’s record on the season moves to 11-7-6. Next up, Crew SC will take on Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sunday, August 19, at 4:00 p.m. ET.