Playoff Game 2: Wizards 0 – Crew 2
After sneaking into the playoffs and holding the Supporters Shield winners in the first game, the Wizards looked to sneak past the Crew last night. Columbus had more to lose; the pressure was on them to win at home. It was a recipe for failure, but the team rose the the occasion like they had all season.
If there was any doubt of how the Crew would come out of the locker room, it was ended in the 7th minute when Eddie Gaven passed back to Brian Carroll, who then lobbed a perfect pass to a rushing Brad Evans. Evans’ chipped over Hartman and into the Wizards’ goal. It was a brilliant counterattack goal that came out of great work from the midfield. It was a goal similar to many the Crew have scored this year; a great team goal.
Kansas City did respond, but showed why they were the 4th seed in the East. The Wizards were able to exploit a few counterattack chances, but the finishing touch was simply lacking as evidenced by Kansas City only getting two shots at goal and flubbing their best shot of the night as Abe Thompson flailed at a cross in the box that was snuffed by Hesmer. The Crew looked comfortable and in control as the Wizards were the team that was under pressure.
The Crew may have had the game in control, but they did not seal the win until Columbus was able to work another team goal. A relatively quiet Schelotto played a perfect ball past the Wizards defense to a rushing Moreno. Rogers accepted the Moreno cross to put it past Hartman to secure the victory. Kansas City really did not threaten in the first half; it was going to be nearly impossible to come back two down against the best team in the league.
As the game wound down; the spirit that started in the Nordecke spread throughout the crowd. I loved seeing the east sideline jumping up and down to the beats of the supporters section. There may have only been 11,000 people at the game, but the atmosphere could not have been better with everyone cheering together.
The Crew now face Chicago on Thursday. A team that fought to two draws in the regular season. A team that features Blanco and former Crew legend Brian McBride. This is a game that makes a season. It is a game that will that great teams will rise to the occasion to win. I am already looking forward to it.