By DAN KARELL
New Columbus Crew head coach Brian Bliss probably couldn’t have asked for a better start to his interim coaching debut with the club.
Withstanding a few early chances from the visiting Houston Dynamo, the Crew took care of the few opportunities they had, defeating the Dynamo, 2-0, on Wednesday evening at Crew Stadium. The win marked the first game since 2009 that had been managed by someone other than Robert Warzycha, who was relieved of his duties as head coach earlier this week.
The Dynamo, playing a mid-week match in three successive weeks, could have gone up by three goals inside the first eleven minutes. Will Bruin easily got around Crew defender Eric Gehrig on three occasions to go one-on-one with goalkeeper Matt Lampson. The first time, Bruin’s attempt on goal was cleared off the line, but the second two opportunities, the Dynamo forward botched his chances and put them well wide.
Following the halftime break, the Crew took the only lead they would need just two minutes into the second half. Tony Tchani, a first half substitute for Wil Trapp, won a challenge with Dynamo midfielder Adam Moffat, played Bernardo Añor forward, who chipped the ball over the Dynamo defense towards Justin Meram. The Crew forward unselfishly found rookie Ryan Finley, who scored his first ever professional goal.
Just two minutes later, the Crew had a chance to put the match away when the home side were given a penalty kick. However, Finley, who stepped up to take the spot kick, blasted it right down the middle, easily saved by Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall.
Twice more in the second half, the Crew had opportunities to put a second goal on the board, with a goal line clearance on a header and from a Dominic Oduro shot. In the 74th minute, Meram scored his side’s second goal of the match with a late run into the box, before a great left-footed finish past Hall.
Here are the game highlights: