Game 6 – Crew 2 – Wizards 1
The Crew are starting to form a habit, get out to the early lead and then play defense and hold on. It is the defense first style of Sigi Schmid that got him fired in L.A. from not being attractive enough, but it is suiting the Columbus Crew just fine. The Crew now have secured their best start ever after a 2-1 win versus Kansas City.
The goal came early in the game in the 4th minute. Schelotto loped a free kick in to the area. Marshall settled under the ball and pushed it across the goal mouth. Wizards keeper was caught between a scrum and the ball. Moffat then rose up and put the ball in the upper corner to score the game’s first goal.
The next half hour was a stretch of dominance. The Crew continued to push the attack. Schelotto had a couple shots at goal. Rogers, with a one two combination, got off a clear shot that went high. Moreno then hustled to intercepted a headed back pass. His volley hit the cross bar. Wave after wave of Crew possession and attack continued to pile up the pressure on Kansas City. The team transitioned from defense to offense with ease.
The 2nd goal would come in the 34th minute and the break would be provided by Moreno overhead kick into space towards the Wizards goal. The Kansas City left back Chance Myers shepherded the ball toward his ‘keeper Kevin Hartman, but due to the lack of communication Rogers was able to get around Myers and poke it past Hartman to extend the lead to 2-0. Rogers speed and awareness made the difference as the Crew looked primed to win their 5th game.
Yet another turning point would happen two short minutes later. Roger Espinoza would lash out at Frankie Hejduk’s face earning a straight red card. The Crew would continue to hold possession for the rest of the half. Things were set up well for Crew dominance in the second half, being up a man and ahead two goals, but the Wizards were prepared to make a game of it.
The second half started with a couple of Crew attempt, but the Wizards would start to control the game. The Crew started to bunker in with over a half hour left and the Wizards looked good with great possession soccer. They had a couple of very good looks at goal to cut the lead in half, but could not get past Hesmer and the defense.
The Wizards breakthrough would come on Danny O’Rourke’s third foul that has led to a penalty this season. O’Rourke was unfortunate in this case to get called for the foul as Scott Sealy made the most of the O’Rourke’s shirt grab and minimal contact by going down in the box. Claudio Lopez converted the penalty to cut the lead in half.
The Crew then did what they have done all year long, kill off the game. The last ten minutes were a back and forth affair as the Wizards would press the attack and Columbus would counter. The end to end action would ultimately amount to nothing as the game ended 2-1, a Crew win.
The Crew have some work to do, some overconfidence may be creeping in. They need to get killer instinct rather than letting teams creep back into games. I cannot complain too much; the Crew have five wins are at the top of the table. The playoffs are months away the Crew will look to take care of business next week at San Jose and get win number 6.