It's been quite a while since I've done a running diary, so I thought it was time to dust off my old standby. Tonight the Crew faces defending champion and current frontrunner Houston Dynamo. A win would be huge. A loss would be expected. A tie? Well, under these circumstances, it would feel like a win. Let's join our ONN broadcast…

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done a running diary, so I thought it was time to dust off my old standby. Tonight the Crew faces defending champion and current frontrunner Houston Dynamo. A win would be huge. A loss would be expected. A tie? Well, under these circumstances, it would feel like a win. Let’s join our ONN broadcast…

8:30 Crew patron saint Dwight Burgess and perennial color guy Bill McDermott will be calling the action tonight. Perhaps Dante Washington is not allowed to leave his East Coast MLS ambassador zone?

8:31 Houston’s starters: Pat Onstad, Wade Barrett, Richard Mulrooney, Patrick Ianni, Ryan Cochrane, Ashe, Ricardo Clark, Dwayne De Rosario, Brian Mullan, Joseph Ngwenya, Nate Jaqua.

8:32 Columbus’ starters: Will Hesmer, Rusty Pierce, Frankie Hejduk, Marcos Gonzalez, Ezra Hendrickson, Duncan Oughton, Danny O’Rourke, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Eddie Gaven, Alejandro Moreno, Ricardo Virtuoso. Good to see Oughton has replaced Danny Szetela among the starters. Kind of sad to see Stefani Miglioranzi sitting down, though. And Virtuoso’s presence in the lineup continues to puzzle me.

8:36 Without comment from our commentators, we’re underway.

8:42 Ezra Hendrickson is a “crafty veteran”? He didn’t look very crafty last week. OK, so maybe Ezra deserves a break, but it’s hard not to be bitter after he screwed the pooch against DC United.

8:45 That was the worst strike I’ve seen from short range in ages. Virtuoso should be ashamed.

8:46 Schelotto off the crossbar! The Crew is surprisingly controlling the run of play right now.

8:49 Now, I’m colorblind, so correct me if I’m wrong, but is this the ugliest combination of uniforms you’ve ever seen?

8:50 They’re giving the Crew tons of space at midfield. I don’t get it.

8:52 Moreno scores! According to McDermott, Sigi Schmid predicted the score this morning. Call him a prophet. Good to see one of the forwards pull into a tie for the team goal-scoring lead. The assist came from Schelotto—who else?—who seemed to fake even himself out as he cut through the box. 1-0 Crew.

8:55 Gonzalez better be careful hugging Ngwenya’s leg like an aroused pup.

8:56 Houston is still giving the Crew acres and acres of space. Blame the heat, I guess, but shouldn’t the Dynamo be the ones who are used to this weather?

8:57 Why doesn’t ONN have the score and the time on screen at all times? Or, you know, ever?

8:59 McDermott gushes about Houston’s defensive prowess—they’ve only allowed 15 goals in 22 games. I’m still scratching my head about how they’ve managed to pull that off given their performance so far tonight.

9:01 Yellow for Jaqua for “extremely clumsy” and “very late” conduct.

9:03 Mullan just got away with mugging Schelotto, who gets no calls! Show the man some respect, ref!

9:04 Did you just see Pierce get in a little retribution on Mullan? Nice to see that he has Guille’s back.

9:06 De Rosario’s cracker seemed destined for the back of the net. Nice punchout by Hesmer. And he scoops up the corner kick with plenty of grace.

9:09 Marcos! What did I tell you about mounting Ngwenya? Gonzalez is too good to pick up a yellow card that way.

9:13 What a horribly wasted offensive possession.

9:14 Ho. Lee. Crap. Gonzalez just picked up his second yellow for clotheslining Ngwenya with his leg. Playing with 10 men does not bode well for the Crew’s endurance in this heat. Come the latter part of the second half, this might get painful.

9:18 Luckily Jaqua is a student of the Robert Warzycha school of shooting.

9:21 Nice tackle, Oughton! I’d like to see Szetela do something like that some time. Well, I guess that presumes that he’ll be seeing any minutes any time soon.

9:24 Just as De Rosario’s turf-burner sneaks outside the right post, the Crew sneaks out of the first half with a lead. I’ll be back for half No. 2.

9:41 The second half has begun, and Miglioranzi has replaced Virtuoso in the Crew lineup. Smart!

9:46 Burgess suggests that Houston may have been playing rope-a-dope with the Crew during the first half. Given the Dynamo’s intense pressure so far this half, that seems like a reasonable explanation. With the Crew down a man and protecting a road lead, this is going to be kind of like the Alamo, only if Columbus has any luck they’ll hold down the fort unlike those poor Texans. (Yeah, yeah, wrong city, I know.)

9:50 Huh. Just noticed they put the score and the time on the screen.

9:51 Luckily for the Crew, Hejduk somehow avoided picking up a yellow card there. Next time he gets carded, he’ll pick up a suspension. And with Gonzalez out for next week’s game and Chad Marshall done for the season, losing another defender is the last thing Columbus needs.

9:54 Haven’t seen much of Gaven this game. I miss freewheeling, naïve, 16-year-old Eddie.

9:57 Oughton is down after a collision with Ngwenya. Nice job not showing the right replay at all, TV folks. Oh, there it is. Ouch.

10:00 Man, the Crew is going rough on their old ’mate Ngwenya!

10:01 Chris Wondolowski enters the match for Houston.

10:02 How was that not the tying goal by Ngwenya? Hesmer and the Crew might have used up the rest of their good luck with that one.

10:03 Ned Grabavoy is coming in for Pierce. I guess they’ll rotate one of the midfielders back into defense now?

10:04 Ezra has been rock solid so far tonight.

10:06 Tempers are heating up.

10:07 Really, there’s no excuse for sending your goal kick out of bounds.

10:08 Uh oh, Schelotto. No more yellows, guys!

10:09 HORRIBLE dribbling by Gaven after a great interception and breakaway.

10:12 Szetela is coming in? For Schelotto? OK, I get the part about taking Guille out, but the part about bringing Danzilla in?

10:14 …And we’re tied, courtesy of Nate Jaqua. You could see that goal coming from a mile away. ’Scuse me while I curse the sky.

10:16 C’mon guys, don’t let the points completely slip away.

10:18 Kid Gaven would have gone to goal just now.

10:20 Mullan picks up a much-deserved yellow card.

10:24 That’s right. Oughton is the man of the match.

10:25 Add one more yellow card to the tally. This time it’s Miglioranzi.

10:26 FIVE minutes of stoppage? There could be some more drama yet.

10:29 They keep saying the Crew is playing Chicago on Sept. 9, but it’s definitely the 8th.

10:30 Game over. It’s hard to be too disappointed with one point, but it would be nice if that represented more than 50 percent of the Crew’s points this month. Oh well.