Crew believe a tie in Houston is a good point
COLUMBUS – The Crew exited Robertson Stadium without a
victory Saturday as was the case in the previous four trips to Houston but not
all was lost after a 0-0 draw to extend its unbeaten streak to three.
Taking a point on the road enabled the Crew (8-2-4, 28
points) to maintain a two-point lead in the Eastern Conference over New York
and gain a point on Los Angeles (36) in the race for the overall league lead.
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Columbus will make up its game in hand on the Red Bulls at
home Wednesday against Kansas City and still have one fewer match than the
“Anytime you can go on the road against an established team
like Houston in the heat out here, a tie is a good point,” Crew defender Danny
O’Rourke said. “They’re a really compact team. It’s a small field. A point on
the road, we’ll definitely take it. They always say a point on the road and
three at home.”
There wasn’t much to the match with neither side able to
maintain possession with the kickoff temperature at 90 degrees. Instead, the
game was a series of hopeful long balls and occasionally scary defensive
miscues that never amounted to much.
“It was really tight,” Columbus midfielder Robbie Rogers said. “The
weather had something to do with it. It was difficult to play in.”
The Crew did not seem to be on top of its game from the
onset in moving its road mark to 2-1-4. It was blanked for the third time in
six matches and suffered a second straight whitewash on the road.
The best opportunities for Columbus came on a Guillermo Barros Schelotto
attempt in the 48th minute that was off target and a Steven Lenhart
strike from close range that was blocked by Houston defender Mike Chabala with eight minutes remaining.
Meanwhile, Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer had little to do in goal for his sixth shutout of the season. He had one save but Columbus only managed to
put two shots on goal and recorded its first 0-0 final since a match one
year ago Sunday at Chicago.
When the Crew did make attacking forays, it was usually Frankie Hejduk
on overlapping runs from his right back spot that went unrewarded.
“We had to connect the passes over there, which we didn’t,”
said Crew manager Robert Warzycha. “He made a lot of runs. As a player you get frustrated when the
ball doesn’t go that way.”
Midfielder Eddie Gaven was off the mark several times deep
in the final third when clean passes could have led to chances and forward
Jason Garey was effectively marked out of the game.
However, after allowing late goals in its past two road
matches that resulted in a tie with San Jose and a loss vs. Colorado, Warzycha
liked what he saw at the end of the draining 90 minutes.
“It was encouraging that we were pushing for the goal
instead of going to the corner," he said. "And we were actually trying to steal the game.”