Houston Dynamo 2, Columbus Crew 0 | 2019 MLS Match Recap
Columbus made five changes from Wednesday's loss to D.C. United, including not even dressing starters Federico Higuain, Artur and Jonathan Mensah, yet the Crew lost their fourth straight game and have scored just once in their last 408 minutes.
Houston rebounded from their first loss of the season last week against the LA Galaxy, improving to 4-0-1 at home and recording their first shutout of the season.
The Dynamo pounced for the opening goal barely three minutes into the game, as Alberth Elis ran onto a miscue and crossed for Mauro Manotas, whose backheel was so unpredictable that it dribbled past Zack Steffen at the near post as he anticipated a dive to the far post.
Steffen denied Manotas (who broke a four-game MLS scoreless drought) and Maynor Figueroa during a first half that saw Houston dominate.
In the second half, the Dynamo needed just 10 minutes to establish breathing room, with Manotas breaking free on the right and firing in a cross that Steffen could turn into the middle of the penalty area, where Tomas Martinez powered a left-footed finish past the stranded goalkeeper.
Columbus actually turned up the pressure over the final 25 minutes, but four saves from Joe Willis gave the Dynamo their first shutout of the season.
Houston (5W-1L-1D) now stand third in the Western Conference in points per game, but fifth on total points. Columbus (4W-5L-1D) fall to seventh in the Eastern Conference on points per game, a single point ahead of New York City FC and Orlando City.
- THE BIG PICTURE: "They are what we thought they were." Houston remain dangerous on the counter, good at home and have more skill and savvy than last year. Columbus are anemic offensively and continue to be almost completely reliant on Pipa Higuain for offensive creativity.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: When Lalas Abubakar failed to trap a simple pass in his own half less than three minutes into the game. Elis and Manotas punished Columbus in the blink of an eye, and even if the rolled finish was fortunate, a rotated Columbus team that has struggled to score lately was facing an uphill battle for almost the entire night.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Manotas scored the first goal and set up the second, continuing his significant influence; he has now scored or assisted in 12 of the Dynamo's last 14 games.
- HOU: Sat., May 4 vs. FC Dallas (4 pm ET | Univision, Twitter in US; DAZN in Canada)
- CLB: Sat., May 4 vs. D.C. United (8 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+ in US; DAZN in Canada)