Houston’s Supporters’ Shield hopes all but vanished in a controversial loss to the league-leading crew. Cam Weaver came off the bench for his first appearance since June due to injury and tied the game in the 80th minute. Houston’s hopes were dashed, however, in stoppage time, when former Dynamo Alejandro Moreno went down from a Geoff Cameron grab, and the Crew were gifted a game-winning penalty kick. The game included yet another Houston red card, as Ricardo Clark and the Crew’s Adam Moffatt were sent off for a confrontation.
The Houston Dynamo suffered a hard-luck 2-1 loss to the defending MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew on Sunday, in the process surrendering the MLS points lead to the Crew while remaining two points ahead of second-place Los Angeles in the Western Conference.
Trailing from a first-half Frankie Hejduk goal, the Dynamo appeared to have pulled out a dramatic tie when Cam Weaver came off the bench to make his first appearance since June 28 and netted an 80th-minute equalizer. But in stoppage time, the Crew were awarded a penalty kick when Alejandro Moreno tumbled to the ground in the penalty area, and Eddie Gaven converted to give Columbus the win.
The loss was Houston's second consecutive defeat and extended its MLS winless streak to four games. The Dynamo are next in action on Wednesday when they travel to Mexico to take on rival Pachuca in CONCACAF Champions League action. Houston will then begin a stretch of six home games in 30 days when the Dynamo host Real Salt Lake Saturday night at Robertson Stadium.
In the first half on Sunday, the Dynamo outshot Columbus 6-3, with their best chance coming when midfielder Ricardo Clark passed to wide-open forward Luis Angel Landin, but his shot sailed just high of the crossbar.
Against the run of play, Columbus scored first when Gino Padula's cross on a set corner kick play was headed away by Andrew Hainault but fell straight to Frankie Hejduk, stationed at the back post, and he headed it in for his first goal of the season.
The Dynamo had several chances to tie the game in the second half but could not manage a shot on goal until Cam Weaver, returning after hernia surgery, came on in the 76th minute. The play started when defender Geoff Cameron charged forward and delivered a ball to the right of the penalty spot to forward Brian Ching. Ching made two touches on the ball, the second going behind him to Weaver, who finished from just outside the six-yard box with a first-time, right-footed shot to the near post. It was Weaver's third goal of the year for the Dynamo in just 231 minutes. Weaver also had one goal with San Jose.
In the 83rd minute, the Crew's Adam Moffatt drew the ire of the Dynamo by stepping on Brian Mullan after the two had tangled physically. In the ensuing skirmish, Moffatt and Houston's Ricardo Clark received red cards.
The game took one more turn in the final minute of regulation when Columbus was awarded the decisive penalty kick. The Crew extended their home unbeaten streak to 24 games (18-0-6) in all competitions and a league-record 21 games (15-0-6) in MLS regular-season play.
For the Dynamo, Brian Ching made his 100th career Dynamo start, the seventh player in team history to reach that milestone, playing alongside Luis Angel Landin, who made his first career Dynamo start. Midfielder Ricardo Clark made his 120th start with the Dynamo.
Houston played without forward Kei Kamara (hip flexor), midfielder Brad Davis (suspension), and defender Eddie Robinson (knee surgery). Defender Richard Mulrooney is on the disabled list and will miss the remainder of the season.
The Dynamo have four MLS games remaining, including three at home (Real Salt Lake, Kansas City, Los Angeles) and one on the road (Chivas USA). The Dynamo also face four more Champions League games, beginning Wednesday night at Pachuca.
Houston Dynamo (11-8-7) vs. Columbus Crew (11-4-9)
September 13, 2009 -- Crew Stadium, Columbus OH
CLB -- Frankie Hejduk 1 (unassisted) 34
HOU -- Cam Weaver 4 (Brian Ching 3, Geoff Cameron 4) 80
CLB -- Eddie Gaven 5 (penalty kick) 91+
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault (Craig Waibel 46), Bobby Boswell, Geoff Cameron, Mike Chabala, Brian Mullan, Ricardo Clark, Stuart Holden, Corey Ashe (Cam Weaver 76), Brian Ching, Luis Angel Landin (Dominic Oduro 58).
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Wade Barrett, Ryan Cochrane, Erik Ustruck.
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk, Eric Brunner, Chad Marshall, Gino Padula (Adam Moffat 72), Eddie Gaven, Brian Carroll, Danny O'Rourke, Robbie Rogers (Emmanuel Ekpo 76), Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Steven Lenhart 88), Alejandro Moreno.
Substitutes Not Used: Andy Gruenebaum, Jason Garey, Andy Iro, Duncan Oughton.
CLB -- Adam Moffat (ejection; Serious Foul Play) 82
HOU -- Ricardo Clark (ejection; Violent Conduct) 82
HOU -- Brian Ching (caution; Reckless Tackle) 87
CLB -- William Hesmer (caution; Dissent) 87
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee's Assistants: Jason Cullum; James Conlee
4th official: Mikael Lundqvist
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial