Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Giles Barnes' second-half strike held up as the winner on Saturday as the Houston Dynamo opened the Owen Coyle era and their 2015 campaign with a 1-0 victory over the Columbus Crew at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Houston entered the 2015 season with some lingering questions as former Bolton manager Coyle took the managerial reins from Dominic Kinnear, who left the Lonestar state to return to San Jose.
Chances were few and far between in a scoreless first half, but Columbus had the first great chance of the match in the 53rd minute as Kei Kamara got on the end of a cross from Ethan Finlay and directed a sharp header on target, but Houston goalkeeper Tyler Deric made an excellent diving save.
The visitors had another great chance in the 65th as a loose ball fell to the feet of newcomer Kristinn Steindorsson, who let it go with pace from the left side of the box, but again Deric came up with a diving stop.
Houston grabbed the lone tally in the 66th minute as defender Kofi Sarkodie got to the end line, cut inside and squared it to Barnes, who made no mistake from close range, ripping it into the roof of the net, leaving Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark with no chance to make a save.
.Minutes after the goal, Columbus responded with another quality chance as Federico Higuain ripped one on target from just outside the penalty area, but it smashed the crossbar and stayed out.
Columbus created a couple more chances in added time, but could not grab an equalizer as Coyle came out a winner in his MLS managerial debut.