The Houston Dynamo came from behind to earn a wild 2-2 tie with the Eastern Conference-leading Columbus Crew Wednesday night at Crew Stadium, moving into a tie for third place with the Philadelphia Union. Forward Calen Carr came off the bench to score his first goal of the season in the 86th minute, the eighth time this season the Dynamo have scored in the game’s final seven minutes to earn a win or a tie. Houston returns to action on Saturday night, hosting the San Jose Earthquakes at Robertson Stadium in the Dynamo’s third game in eight days.
Wednesday’s game changed significantly in the 11th minute, when Columbus midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo was ejected for fouling Houston midfielder Adam Moffat, a former Crew player, well after he had made a pass. The Dynamo took advantage in the 34th minute, when Moffat fed Jermaine Taylor on the right wing, and his cross was headed into the net by midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson. It was the first MLS goal for Watson, making his first start since August 17.
Columbus got back into the game in the second half and took the lead on penalty kicks from Andres Mendoza in the 64th and 76th minutes. The first penalty kick was controversial, as a cross hit Dynamo forward Cam Weaver in the arm. The second was whistled for a foul after a corner kick.
The Dynamo recovered to tie the match with four minutes remaining, as substitute Danny Cruz and Geoff Cameron combined before Cameron crossed for Calen Carr to fire a one-time finish into the top of the net, Carr’s first goal since October 23, 2010, when he played for the Chicago Fire. The goal was the 10th of Carr’s MLS career.
The drama continued into stoppage time, as Cam Weaver saw a header blocked by the arm of a Columbus player, but the Dynamo’s protests for a handball were not answered. Houston finished the match with a 17-6 shot advantage and more than 71 percent of the game’s possession.
All-Star Geoff Cameron made his second start of the regular season at center back and his first since June 4, in the process starting his 100th game for the Dynamo in all competitions. Cameron is the 12th player in club history to reach that mark and the second-youngest player to do so; only Ricardo Clark was younger when making his 100th start.
For Houston, defender Jermaine Taylor made his first start of the season at right back after starting nine matches at center back. Midfielder Luiz Camargo made his first competitive start for the club. Forward Will Bruin made his first appearance since July 30, and midfielder Danny Cruz came off the bench for his first appearance since July 23.
Houston defender Andre Hainault was rested for the first time all season when available; his previous two missed games in 2011 had been for national team duty. Hainault’s streak of 4,050 consecutive minutes (45 consecutive 90-minute games) when not on national team duty, which dated back to May 29, 2010, came to an end.
All-Star defender Corey Ashe made his 25th start of the season and his 125th career appearance in MLS regular season play. Forward Cam Weaver made his 60th appearance for the Dynamo in all competitions since being acquired in June 2009.
The Dynamo played without forwards Brian Ching (adductor) and Carlo Costly (red card); midfielder Alex Dixon (finger fracture); and defender Eddie Robinson (quad).