Crew know what to expect from Houston

Despite having busy schedule, the Dynamo will be a tough test for Crew


Photo Credit: 
Bob Levey / Getty Images

Columbus Crew coach Robert Warzycha knows just what it's like to play
three games a week.

Columbus endured a draining 0-0 tie in the heat and humidity at Houston on
July 10 and then used the same lineup for a midweek 1-0 home loss to Kansas
City. Warzycha tweaked the first XI this past Saturday vs. New York, most
notably with the insertion of forward Emilio Renteria, and
the Crew responded with their most complete game of the season in a 2-0

“It was the third game in seven days, and we played the best soccer,” Warzycha

It has been almost restful in the Crew camp in the aftermath of that win,
because they did not have to play a midweek game for the first time in three

“We can get our legs back under us,” forward Jason Garey said.

That seemingly gives the Crew the edge when Houston visits Crew Stadium on
Saturday for the Dynamo's third match since Sunday and fourth game in 10 days. The Dynamo have played two
SuperLiga matches at home since Sunday — a 1-1 tie with Chivas USA and Wednesday’s 1-0 victory
over Puebla.

“You can’t really predict what will happen,” Warzycha said. “Sometimes when
you play every three days you get into a rhythm. It happened for us. Look at the
New York game.”

While nobody knows how the Dynamo will feel after their strenuous schedule,
it’s a sure bet the Crew know what kind of game to expect.

“They are physically good,” Warzycha said of Houston. “They have a lot of
players 6-foot, 6-foot-1, and they like to go on the ground. They like the
challenges. They go after 50-50s like there’s no tomorrow, and they are very

“They won’t let you play,” he added. “They won’t let you get into a rhythm.
Sometimes they foul. They know how to do that because they have very good
players and are coached by a good coach.”

Houston was able to neutralize the Crew in the last meeting by slowing them
down through the midfield and not fouling in spots close to goal where Guillermo
Barros Schelotto can be lethal on set pieces.

“They do their fouling out near midfield,” Garey said. “They don’t really
allow you to get close to the box. It’s a smart thing for them to do, but we’re
real dangerous on free kicks around the box. We need to do a better job of getting loose from those markers and make a
few better runs, so maybe they have to chase us down and foul us close to the
box. We have to get closer to the 18. We have to take it to them a
little more.”

The Crew will be without suspended right back Frankie Hejduk and
injured defensive midfielder Brian Carroll, but options abound.

Warzycha could use Jed Zayner or center midfielder Adam Moffat
for Hejduk, with defender Danny O’Rourke moving into Carroll’s spot and Eddie Gaven
sliding from the right wing into the middle. Emmanuel Ekpo might get
the start at Gaven’s position.

No matter who starts, Warzycha has one objective:

“We have to play like we
played against New York," Warzycha said. "If you look at Houston’s games, it’s not like they’re losing 3-0, 4-0 or 5-0.
They don’t give up too many goals. They have a good goalie. They have good
people behind the ball. It’s going to be very difficult to play them.”