Eduard Lowen scored one goal, assisted on another and made his presence felt on defense to carry St. Louis City to a 3-0 win over the visiting Houston Dynamo on Saturday night.
Lowen's ninth-minute penalty kick opened the scoring and his long free kick set up the second goal of the night, helping expansion side St. Louis (9-4-1, 28 points) leapfrog the Seattle Sounders and move back into first place in the Western Conference.
St. Louis City won their third straight match, while the Dynamo (5-7-3, 18 points) lost for the second time in four days following a 6-2 letdown against the Vancouver Whitecaps on Wednesday.
Roman Burki made four saves for St. Louis. Steve Clark recorded two for Houston.
Lowen now leads St. Louis in goals (five, tied with two teammates) and assists (six). Tomas Ostrak and Nicholas Gioacchini also scored for the hosts.
St. Louis midfielder Indiana Vassilev drew a foul in the box from Chase Gasper early on. Despite Houston's protests, officials awarded the penalty kick and Lowen drove it into the bottom left corner.
In the 38th minute, the Dynamo looked to have a breakaway, but Lowen sprinted up and poked the ball away before a shot was taken.
During first-half stoppage time, after Clark parried away Lowen's free kick from close range, Houston's Adalberto Carrasquilla and St. Louis' Njabulo Blom got into a shoving match that escalated when other players ran into the fray.
Dynamo midfielder Ivan Franco was issued a red card for slamming a player to the ground, but upon VAR review it was reduced to a yellow because the St. Louis player was actually bumped to the ground by a teammate in the scuffle. Carrasquilla and Blom were also shown yellow.
In the 51st minute, Lowen sent a free kick toward the left post and Lucas Bartlett headed it across the box to Ostrak, who chipped it in off the back off Dynamo midfielder Artur's leg. Ostrak, an MLS rookie, scored his second goal of the season. Both Bartlett and Lowen were credited with assists on the play.
St. Louis' Aziel Jackson was chasing a pass toward the goal line in the 81st minute when Daniel Steres hit him in the back with a shoulder. It was called a penalty upon VAR review, and Gioacchini used a stutter step before driving a shot into the back of the net for his fifth goal of the year.
--Field Level Media