for this game

Gaven's late PK gets Crew by Dynamo 2-1

Sep 14, 2009 - 12:07 AM By BOB STEIN STATS MLS Correspondent

COLUMBUS, Ohio (STATS) -- Very little separates the top two teams in the MLS.

Eddie Gaven scored on a penalty kick in second-half stoppage time to give the Columbus Crew a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo in a chippy game between the MLS Eastern and Western Conference leaders on Sunday.

Referee Jorge Gonzalez called for the penalty after Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron knocked over Crew forward Alejandro Moreno in the penalty box in the final moment of regular time.

Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad dove to his right as Gaven struck the ball the opposite way, giving the Crew their sixth win in seven matches.

Several Dynamo players confronted Gonzalez following the match as the Crew celebrated their last-minute victory.

"I think some guys feel (the penalty kick) wasn't a proper call," said Houston coach Dominic Kinnear.

Crew coach Robert Warzycha obviously had a different take as his team remained unbeaten at home this season.

"We won, so I think the referee was fine," he said. "I think it doesn't matter if it's the first minute or the 90th minute, if it's a foul, it needs to be called."

Columbus (11-4-9) regained sole possession of the East lead with an MLS-best 42 points. The Crew lead Chicago by three points and have a match in hand on the Fire with six to play.

Houston (11-8-7) has 40 points, two better than Los Angeles.

The Dynamo tied the match in the 80th minute when Cam Weaver had an easy finish on Brian Ching's athletic crossing pass for his fourth goal of the year.

Crew defender Frankie Hejduk scored his first goal of the season in the 34th minute for Columbus, which hasn't lost at home in an MLS-record 23 matches (17-0-6), including two playoff wins last year.

Hejduk's goal followed tough play from Crew defender Gino Padula, who battled for possession on a long corner kick and forced Houston to concede a second corner.

League MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto sent the corner into the penalty area, where Dynamo defender Andrew Hainault lunged in an effort to head the ball clear, but instead deflected it into the path of Hejduk.

The tempers of players on both teams seemed to fray as the game wore on, culminating with the Crew's Adam Moffat and Houston's Ricardo Clark being shown red cards following an encounter near the center line in the 82nd minute.

"I think the emotions spilled over with the red cards, and then the penalty kick," Kinnear said.

Ching narrowly missed tying the game two minutes before setting up Weaver's goal when Ching headed the ball wide of an open goal from 6 yards.

The Crew travel to Costa Rica for a CONCACAF Champions League match against Saprissa on Wednesday and face tough league matches against rivals Chicago, Los Angeles, and expansion upstarts Seattle over the next three weeks.

"We're starting a stretch with regular season games and Champions League games, and it was important for us to have a good start," Warzycha said. "We're very happy we took the first step and won the game."