Game 21 – RSL 0 – Crew 3
It can be tough to figure out where to start with 3-0 home win. The whole team rose to the occasion, but Guillermo Barros Schelotto again stood out with a performance that should start the chants of MVP. Salt Lake was unable to stop him as he put in another virtuoso performance. The great offensive performances did not stop with Schelotto. Moreno and Rogers tormented the back line, Gaven made several runs into the heart of the defense, and Evans even got his 4th goal of the year.
The Crew pressed from the opening whistle and put RSL on the back foot. Moreno sped behind the back line, forcing Jámison Olave into an early yellow card. This would set the tone for the game as the Crew would have a series of open looks and set piece opportunities in the first half. The initial goal would come off of another Schelotto set piece. While his corners kicks have been off, Schelotto’s free kicks have been on target. Marshall found the end of his driven free kick and put it past Nick Rimando. Schelotto then spurred the second goal less than 10 minutes later with a pass to Gaven, who turned to avoid a defender but was dragged down in the box to draw the penalty. Schelotto easily slotted the penalty to put the Crew up 2-0. The defense was just as sharp. I am not sure Salt Lake got a shot on goal in the fist half. The Crew just dominated.
Unlike past games, the Crew kept the pressure on in the second half. The defense was just as stifling as the half opened, but Schelotto and the offense were not through tormenting the RSL defense. Schelotto found Gaven on the right wing. Brad Evans crashed the box to meet Gaven’s cross to score his 4th goal of the year. Salt Lake pressed a couple times in the second half, but really did not threaten. A defense led by Marshall and Carroll mad sure that Salt Lake had very few chances to get a shot off at goal. The few shots that did get through were ably parried by an in form Hesmer. This was a team that has improved on it’s already good form of late.
I have not seen a Crew team completely out class an opponent like that in a long time. Real Salt Lake was pressed from the beginning. Columbus pounced on the opportunity an had the game in hand midway through the first half and sealed the victory by topping off the scoring with a third goal early in the second half. The offense was in fine form and the defense was as solid as it has been all year. It hope this is a preview of the stretch run. It would be amazing to see an in form Schelotto surrounded by the talent in this Columbus lineup. This is a team that can do some serious damage the next few months.