Eddie Gaven's penalty kick in second-half stoppage time gave the Columbus Crew a 2-1 win over the Houston Dynamo on Sunday in a meeting of the top two teams in the MLS.
Referee Jorge Gonzalez called for the penalty after Dynamo defender Geoff Cameron knocked over Crew forward Alejandro Moreno in the box in the 90th minute.
Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad dove to his right as Gaven struck the ball the opposite way, giving the Crew (11-4-9) their sixth win in seven matches.
Columbus remained unbeaten at home this season and regained sole possession of the Eastern Conference lead with an MLS-best 42 points. 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.
Tempers seemed to fray as the game wore on, culminating when the Crew's Adam Moffat and Houston's Ricardo Clark were shown red cards following an encounter near the center line in the 82nd minute.
Ching narrowly missed tying the game two minutes before setting up Weaver's goal, heading the ball wide of an open goal from 6 yards.