COLUMBUS – Will Bruin scored the first Houston goal and assisted on the 81st minute-equalizer by Brian Ching to counter a pair of goals by Eddie Gaven as the Dynamo tied the Crew 2-2 at Crew Stadium on Saturday.
The Dynamo survived a late onslaught to move to 2-1-2 with two games remaining on their season-opening road swing before christening BBVA Compass Stadium on May 12 vs. D.C. United.
Columbus (2-3-1) ended a two-game losing streak but could not secure the three points, despite a thundering blast from Gaven in the 74th minute that looked like it would stand up as an emphatic game-winner.
Instead the last laugh went to Bruin and Ching, who hooked up in the waning minutes to give the Dynamo their second consecutive draw.
The Crew, however, nearly salvaged the win in the 89th minute, but Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall made two point-blank saves on striker Olman Vargas before defender Andre Hainault cleared an attempt off the goal line by Aaron Schonfeld.
After a sleepy first half, Bruin started the scoring in the 58th minute. After Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum tipped a shot from Ching over the bar to set up a corner kick, Bruin nodded home Adam Moffat’s in-swinging ball with the back of his head for his second goal in as many games.
The Crew tied the score four minutes later on a strange sequence that began with a goal kick from Gruenebaum to Milovan Mirosevic for a flick that Hainault knocked back to teammate Geoff Cameron. He pushed the ball back to Hall, who tried to clear it with his head but instead put the ball to Gaven.
Gaven hit a soft shot toward goal that Hainault got a foot to as he tried to steer it away from the Crew’s Emilio Rentería, but the scrappy goal was good enough to pull the Crew even.
Gaven’s second goal was easily the finish of the night, and helped the Crew star break out of an early-season scoring drought. Second-half substitute Schonfeld chested a ball down just outside the box to an onrushing Gaven, who one-timed a left-footed shot past a helpless Hall and into the back of the net.
But then came another moment to shine for Bruin, who found space on the right side of the box and placed a perfect pass between Crew defenders Chad Marshall and Sebastian Miranda that enabled Ching to run onto the ball for the redirect. The goal was the first of the season for veteran striker.
Houston welcomed back Moffat [the former Crew midfielder] from a one-game suspension for a reckless challenge March 23 against Seattle, but Brad Davis missed his second straight game because of a left calf strain. Midfielder Colin Clark missed the game while he served the second of a three-game suspension.
Houston return to action at D.C. United on April 28, while the Crew host Vancouver the same day.
Houston Dynamo (2-1-2) vs. Columbus Crew (2-3-1)
April 21, 2012 – Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio - Attendance: 10,479
HOU - Will Bruin 2 (Adam Moffat) 59
CLB – Eddie Gaven 1 (63)
CLB – Eddie Gaven 2 (Aaron Schoenfeld, Nemanja Vukovic) 74
HOU – Brian Ching 1 (Will Bruin) 81
Houston Dynamo – Tally Hall; Andre Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Jermaine Taylor; Je-Vaughn Watson (Calen Carr 79), Adam Moffat, Luiz Camargo, Corey Ashe (Macoumba Kandji 89); Brian Ching (Cam Weaver 84), Will Bruin
Substitutes not used: Tyler Deric, Nathan Sturgis, Kofi Sarkodie, Alex Dixon
Columbus Crew – Andy Gruenebaum; Sebastian Miranda, Josh Williams, Chad Marshall, Nemanja Vukovic (Shaun Francis 83); Tony Tchani (Ethan Finlay 72), Danny O’Rourke, Milovan Mirosevic, Eddie Gaven; Emilio Renteria (Aaron Schoenfeld 67), Olman Vargas
Substitutes not used: Matt Lampson, Cole Grossman, Eric Gehrig, Kirk Urso
Misconduct Summary CLB – Tony Tchani (caution) 17, HOU – Andre Hainault (caution) 55
Referee: Chris Penso
Assistants: Jeff Muschik, Frank Anderson
Fourth official: Fotis Bazakos