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Win #1 for Bliss

Photo Credit: Jeff Gossel/

Tonight was a start of a new era for Columbus following the sacking of Robert Warzycha as head coach on Monday and the new era started with a morale-boosting 2-0 win over Houston. Though the outcome could have been very different if Will Bruin had found his shooting boots after a poor first half from the Crew.

Houston should have been three goals to the good within the first 15 minutes of the game with the Crew defense serving up chances at will. First Eric Gehrig let Bruin get a toe to a ball he should have cleared as he rounded Matt Lampson in the Crew goal, but the weak shot was cleared by the retreating Chad Barson.

Bruin again found himself free minutes later after a long ball over the top of the Crew defense, but he hit his shot wide of the goal. He was then presented with his third chance on 11 minutes with Gehrig again at fault. He failed to clear a long ball which Bruin stole and was clean through on goal, though it was not third time is the charm as his shot rose high over the bar.

Photo Credit: Jeff Gossel/

Columbus finally started to create some chances as the half went on with Ryan Finley and Justin Meram testing the Houston keeper. The Crew’s best chance of the half fell to Dominic Oduro when Brad Davis of Houston played a poor crossfield ball which Oduro intercepted, but he overran the ball allowing Tally Hall to come out and block the resulting shot.

The second half was a different story for the Crew as they came out with an intensity that was missing in the first half and were rewarded immediately. Finley scored his first professional goal after some fine work from Bernardo Anor. He found Meram free on the left side of the box, who unselfishly squared for Finley to place into an empty net.

It should have been 2-0 just moments later after a soft penalty was awarded after a tug on Oduro’s shirt in the box. Finley, buoyant from his first-ever goal in the pros, stepped up to take the resulting kick, but his poor effort was easily saved by Hall.

The second goal finally came on 74 minutes when Oduro’s cross was awkwardly hit by Finley and fell kindly to Meram to dispatch his shot across Hall into the far corner. This capped a fine performance from Meram.

“Justin has individual talent a lot of guys don’t have in carving balls and slipping by guys, creating his own shots,” Crew Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss stated. “He can do that, whether he was doing it better the last six months or was doing it better today, I’ll leave you guys to judge that, he’s got that in his game, he just happened to be on today for lack of a better term.”

Houston never threatened to come back in the game and were looking tired with this their second away game in three days.

Match Photos

Crew Fall in Houston

The Columbus Crew (6-11-5, 23 points) fell 3-1 to the Houston Dynamo (9-6-6, 33 points) by a final score of 3-1 on Saturday evening at BBVA Compass Stadium.

The Black & Gold dropped the hard-fought contest to their Eastern Conference rival, as the home side took a 2-0 lead into halftime following goals from Brad Davis and Will Bruin. Davis converted a 10th-minute penalty following a Chad Marshall tackle on Houston’s Giles Barnes inside Columbus’ area, resulting in a caution for Marshall. Bruin’s 31st-minute goal doubled that lead heading into the break. Substitute Ryan Finley received a Kevan George pass in the 75th minute, forcing Houston defender Kofi Sarkodie into a compromising position, resulting in a Dynamo own goal. The Crew was unable to find an equalizer, and Dynamo forward Cam Weaver added a third tally for Houston in the 85th minute.

The Black & Gold return home for a two-match homestand as the Crew hosts the New York Red Bulls at Crew Stadium on Saturday, August 10 (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio) for 614 Night in Columbus.

Dynamo Reserves Defeat Crew Reserves 1-0

The Houston Dynamo Reserves defeated the Columbus Crew Reserves, 1-0, on Sunday morning at Crew Stadium. Houston midfielder Brian Ownby scored on a diving header and goalkeeper Tyler Deric made several important saves as the Dynamo Reserves improved to 4-1-0 this season.

The Dynamo Reserves won despite a depleted roster due to injury and international call-ups. Five Dynamo Academy players featured for the Dynamo, including four starters – Christian Gonzalez, Louis Thomas, Memo Rodriguez and Elo Ozumba – and substitute Irvin Ramirez.

The Dynamo Reserves (4-1-0; 12 points) are in first place in the MLS Reserve League East Division.

After Deric made several outstanding saves to keep the game scoreless early on, Ownby produced the game’s only goal. Alex Dixon received the ball on the right flank and whipped in a cross toward the penalty spot. Ownby and Columbus goalkeeper Matt Lampson converged on the cross, and Ownby dove to bravely head the game-winner past Lampson for a 1-0 lead.

It was Ownby’s second Reserve League goal this season. It was Dixon’s first assist.

Deric’s busy morning began in the fourth minute when he saved a clear shot from Ryan Finlay. Seven minutes later, a counter attack from Columbus resulted in a chance for Ben Speas, but Deric made another important save.

In the 14th minute, Aaron Schoenfeld was alone 10 yards from goal and Deric made a save with his left foot. Five minutes later, Schoenfeld had another chance and Deric stood tall again.

The Dynamo created several chances in the second half, beginning in the 51st minute, when Dixon had a chance from an Ownby cross, but Lampson made the save. Two minutes later, Ownby’s shot from 12 yards nearly found the side of the net but skipped passed the far post.

Dixon came close to scoring in the 87th minute, capping off an impressive buildup from Houston with a strong shot from the top of the box that crashed off the cross bar.

The Dynamo Reserves return to action on Saturday, June 8 with a road game against the Charleston Battery of USL Pro.

The View from Our Crew – Arrieta’s Form in Front of Goal

Jairo Arrieta’s woes in front of goal continued tonight as another 90 minutes went by without a goal. He now has 1 goal in 11 games this season with his last goal coming nearly 3 months ago on March 9 against Vancouver. He finished last season in tremendous form, ending with a goal every other game, 9 scores in 18 games.

Photo Credit: Kevin Cross/

Watching him tonight he seems to be doing the same things as last season, sitting on the shoulder of the last defender and making the runs in behind the defense. Though it’s the final shot that is the difference this season, going a couple of inches the wrong side of the post.

With the Crew only playing one upfront, then a change will be required if Arrieta does not start scoring very soon. A formation change could have a positive effect, possible pushing Higuain further up the pitch to give the opposition defenders more to think about and giving Arrieta more space. The other alternative would be to bench him, but looking at the reserves there does not seem anyone that could come in do a better job.

Columbus has drawn 5 games this season and 3 of their 4 loses were only by a goal. This highlights that Arrieta’s form in front of goal is having a big effect on the Crew’s season. If he had chipped in with a few more goals then Columbus would be well into the playoff positions.

Crew Earn 1-1 Draw with Houston

The entire Columbus Crew organization has finally breathed a sigh of relief.

Photo Credit: Ric Kruszynski/

Federico Higuain’s 69th minute penalty conversion against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday ended a home MLS goalless streak for Columbus that lasted 294 minutes and spanned four matches. The 1-1 draw was also the first time that Columbus has earned a point at home since late April against D.C. United.

The penalty came when Dynamo striker Andrew Driver took down Crew left back Chad Barson in the area after an extended period of pressure from Columbus. The captain, Higuain, caught Hall moving early and buried the ball in the back of the net for the equalizer.

The Argentinian almost earned his team the victory when his 74th minute shot from 20 yards ricocheted off the post and midfielder Justin Meram missed the open net on the rebound.

Overall it was a disappointing match offensively for Columbus, who continued their troubling pattern of being unable to finish chances despite being dominant on the offensive end of the pitch.

Despite registering four shots on goal in the first half to Houston’s one the Crew found themselves down 1-0 heading into the dressing rooms.

Houston’s goal seemingly came from nothing in the 31st when defender Kofi Sarkodie beat Columbus down the right and played a cross in to Warren Creavalle, who made a wonderful touch to beat Gruenebaum for the opening goal.

Columbus has been consistently poor at home this season, only earning six points in six matches at Crew Stadium this season. Still the Crew remains close to the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, their 17 points just two back of the Philadelphia Union.

Eddie Gaven’s absence after his midweek injury against the Dayton Dutch Lions was noticed, with Justin Meram struggling to consistently make the offensive impact that the Crew’s bearded midfielder often made.

Subside Sports Man of the Match: Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew

On an overall poor night by the Columbus midfield, Higuain reminded us why he is Columbus’ best player. His play in the midfield kept the ball in the Crew’s attacking half for a majority of the night and he displayed his usual skill delivering set pieces. His goal was the most important moment of the match for Columbus, earning them the point, and he almost earned the squad all three points on multiple occasions. Honorable mention goes to Jairo Arrieta who was outstanding coming back from international duty and was consistently threatening up front.