The Columbus Crew maintained their lead atop the Eastern Conference and extended the Houston Dynamo’s winless streak to six league games as both teams played to a defensive stalemate that ended scoreless at Robertson Stadium on Saturday night.
Houston was celebrating Military Appreciation Night, but midfielder Brad Davis, who helped organize the event, was not fit enough to start. Lovel Palmer and Richard Mulrooney started in central midfield for Houston, with Davis coming off the bench.
The first half was a physical affair, with Brian Ching and Cam Weaver sparring with Chad Marshall and Andy Iro, their Columbus counterparts. Both teams failed to create many first half opportunities with only one shot on goal each.
In the 24th minute, Houston should have taken an early lead. Crew left back Gino Padula stepped up but could not get to a cross-field pass, and Danny Cruz blew by the Argentine. Cruz played the ball across the goal to a wide-open Ching at the far post. However, the World Cup veteran misdirected his left-footed shot in front of an empty net, as the ball sailed over the bar.
The best chance for the visitors came in the 29th minute. Robbie Rogers and Guillermo Barros Schelotto played a beautiful give-and-go, but the cross into the box by Rogers was knocked away by Dynamo ‘keeper Pat Onstad as both teams entered the half scoreless.
The defensive struggle continued into the second half with the best opportunities for both sides falling in a two-minute span. Substitute Brian Mullan laid a ball perfectly into the path of Weaver in the 80th minute. The Dynamo big man’s blast went mere inches wide of goal.
Just two minutes later, the Crew almost took the lead themselves. Rogers fed the ball across the box and found second-half substitute forward Steven Lenhart open at the far post. As Lenhart lined up an open shot on goal, Dynamo defender Mike Chabala came out of nowhere and made a sprawling block on Lenhart’s effort.
The game ended scoreless, as both teams combined for a total of three shots on goal. Up next for the Dynamo is their SuperLiga 2010 debut against Pachuca on Thursday. Columbus hosts the Kansas City Wizards on Wednesday night for a midweek match at Crew Stadium.
Columbus Crew (8-2-4) vs. Houston Dynamo (5-7-4)
July 10, 2010 -- Robertson Stadium, Houston TX
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk (Danny O'Rourke 72), Andy Iro, Chad Marshall, Gino Padula, Eddie Gaven, Brian Carroll, Adam Moffat, Robbie Rogers, Jason Garey (Steven Lenhart 66), Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Emmanuel Ekpo 89).
Substitutes Not Used: Andy Gruenebaum, Eric Brunner, Emilio Renteria, Shaun Francis.
Houston Dynamo -- Pat Onstad, Andrew Hainault, Bobby Boswell, Eddie Robinson, Mike Chabala, Danny Cruz (Brian Mullan 63), Richard Mulrooney, Lovel Palmer, Corey Ashe (Brad Davis 68), Brian Ching, Cam Weaver.
Substitutes Not Used: Tally Hall, Luis Angel Landin, Dominic Oduro, Adrian Serioux, Craig Waibel.
HOU -- Andrew Hainault (caution; Reckless Foul) 73
CLB -- Gino Padula (caution; Reckless Tackle) 88
Referee: Michael Kennedy
Referee's Assistants: Chris Strickland; Kermit Quisenberry
4th official: Terry Vaughn
All statistics contained in this boxscore are unofficial