MLS Regular Season
Crew SC may still be waiting for its first road win of the season, but Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Real Salt Lake left the Black & Gold feeling proud of their comeback performance. Having trailed twice, Columbus clawed its way back into the match with goals from midfielders Tony Tchani and Ethan Finlay.
Let’s break down the heated, back-and-forth affair by the numbers.
Crew SC earned a point at Rio Tinto Stadium for the first time since 2011, when the Black & Gold won in Sandy by a 2-0 final. All-time, Columbus is now 3-4-2 at Real Salt Lake, and 1-3-1 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Tchani and Finlay both scored their third goal of the season for Crew SC. Tchani’s goal in the 42nd minute marked a new career-best single-season total for him. Of his seven career MLS regular-season tallies, five have come in Black & Gold. Finlay meanwhile has now scored 14 goals for Columbus, all of which have come over the past two seasons.
Defender Hector Jimenez assisted on Tchani's opening goal for his third assist of the season. This marks the third straight season that Jimenez has notched at least three assists. Of his 14 career MLS assists, eight have come in Black & Gold after last season's career-best total of five.
Finlay registered his 10th assist of the season, making him the first player to reach double-digits in the category across Major League Soccer this season. With the assist Finlay also extended his career-best single-season total. This is the fourth time in his career that he has registered at least one goal and one assist in the same match.
Crew SC and Real Salt Lake combined for 21 shots on Saturday night, as both teams pushed for three points. While RSL fired seven shots on target, Crew SC hit three attempts on goal, two of which ended up in the back of the net. Now that’s efficiency.
The number of fouls committed between the two teams, almost evenly distributed (13-11). The heated match saw a total of seven cards, six yellows and a red. Real Salt Lake’s Jordan Allen was ejected for a serious foul on Tony Tchani, only 10 minutes after he entered the match. The red card was RSL’s third in two matches.
A full week vacation from MLS play was just what Crew SC needed.
The Black & Gold were swift and aggressive, and created plenty of opportunities vs. the New England Revolution. That, combined with Kei Kamara’s fourth brace of the season, amounted to Crew SC coming away with a 2-1 victory.
Despite trailing not even a minute into the match, Crew SC went on to create an advantage in most stat categories on Wednesday night. Lets take a look at those stats and analyze how they played a factor in the Black & Gold's fifth home win of the season.
Saturday’s match got off to a ferocious start after the two teams combined for two goals within the first four minutes of play. Lee Nguyen registered New England’s first shot 35 seconds into the match, and it bounced under Steve Clark's outstretched arm into the back of the net. Just three minutes later, Kei Kamara took advantage of a rebound off the crossbar, lunged at the loose ball and headed it in to tie the match at one apiece.
Kamara tacked on another goal in the 50th minute, securing his fourth brace of the season. That brings Kamara’s League-leading goal total to 12, four ahead of the rest of the pack, and sets his new personal MLS-career high with over half of the season still left to play. Ethan Finlay recorded the primary assist on Kamara’s second goal, bringing his League-leading assist total up to nine, one ahead of second-place Benny Feilhaber.
The cumulative number of fouls registered by both teams. Justin Meram foreshadowed this level of physicality, saying there's no love lost between the two teams. A total of seven yellow cards were issued and players were hitting the ground frequently. Amazingly, the number doesn’t live up to the 30 fouls earned between the two sides when they last met.
Though the Revolution produced several legitimate scoring opportunities after Nguyen’s early goal, they spent a lot of time on their heels. Their 34 clearances indicate Crew SC’s dominance in the attacking third and the frequency of chances they accumulated.
Speaking of Crew SC's compelling offense, they ripped off 42 crosses, while only conceding 14. This stat is made even more remarkable considering Crew SC possessed the ball 56.2% of the time; an advantage, yes, but not complete dominance. As we alluded to from the start, Crew SC played quickly, and it didn’t take long for each of its opportunities to come to fruition.
For the 65th time, Columbus Crew SC and the New England Revolution will face off in what has become an intense rivalry in Major League Soccer.
Kick-off between the two MLS orginals is scheduled for 7:30 pm. on Wednesday, June 24 at MAPFRE Stadium.
The series, in which Crew SC holds a 31-21-12 advantage, stretches all the way back to Major League Soccer’s inaugural season in 1996. Since the first meeting between the two, which resulted in a 3-2 win for Crew SC, numerous unforgettable moments have taken place. We sifted through those moments to bring you five of our favorites.
August 8, 1998 – You get a goal, and a goal, and a goal...
For the first 19 minutes of play, nobody scored. Then the floodgates opened. Six different Crew SC players picked up a goal in the club’s 6-1 drumming of the Revolution. The teams combined for a whopping 42 shots during the match with the goalkeepers making 11 saves, cumulatively. The performance remains tied for the most goals scored by Crew SC in a single match.
May 15, 1999 – MAPFRE’S coronation
America’s first ever soccer-specific stadium was open for business and New England was its first customer. Jeff Cunningham and Stern John each registered a goal in Crew SC’s 2-0 win in front of 24,741 people. The Black & Gold withstood 18 New England shots to preserve the first win and shutout in stadium history. It took until the third match at MAPFRE Stadium for an opposing team to score when Los Angeles did so two weeks later.
May 8, 2010 – Stoppage-time drama
In some sort of cruel ploy on the stats keeper, New England and Columbus combined for four goals over an 11-minute period. New England’s Zak Boggs scored twice (29’, 40’), Crew SC's Eddie Gaven scored once (31’) and Corey Gibbs put one in his own goal to level the match at 2-2 going into the break. Compared to how quickly goals were scored in the first half, the game winner took forever to arrive. Robbie Rogers broke the tie in the 91st minute to propel Crew SC to a thrilling 3-2 win.
January 13, 2014 – Welcome to Columbus, Michael Parkhurst
This isn’t a moment from a match, but it is a move that has had a substantial impact on the club. On this date, Crew SC acquired the rights to defender Michael Parkhurst from New England in exchange for the fourth overall selection in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and allocation money. Parkhurst agreed to a contract with Crew SC and has since become a vitial part of the Columbus back line. Not only has he played in 47 matches over the past two seasons, he also became the team captain prior to the 2015 season.
September 20, 2014 – Honoring Frankie Hejduk
On a day when one of Crew SC’s finest defenders was inducted into the Circle of Honor, Columbus and New England showcased their defenses. Federico Higuaín registered the match’s lone goal as Crew SC came away with the 1-0 victory. What the game lacked in offensive productivity, it made up for in physicality. The two sides combined for 30 fouls. We’re sure Frankie would have loved to played in this one.
By: Brad Friedman
No team loves scoring goals in front of its own fans quite as much as Columbus Crew SC.
Well, we’re sure other teams love to score at home too, but no club does it more frequently this year than the Black & Gold. Through eight matches at MAPFRE Stadium, Crew SC has scored 17 home goals, more than any other club this season.
Five different players have scored those goals and they have all come about in very different manners. Here, we take a closer look at each one.
Meram Comes Flying In
The League's top delivery man, Ethan Finlay, provided a great ball here, largely because of his patience. He took his time and waited for Justin Meram, Kei Kamara and Federico Higuaín to find space. With Kamara closest to goal and Higuaín coming in with a head of steam, Meram fell under the radar, making him the perfect target for a cross. From there, Meram strikes a powerful header to help send Crew SC to a 2-0 win over Toronto FC.
Francis Delivers, Kamara Finishes
It’s difficult to think that Waylon Francis could have delivered a better ball into the box. He saw the gap widening between Toronto FC’s Damien Perquis and Ashtone Morgan, both of whom were focused on Francis and not the wondering Kamara, and put it exactly where it needed to go. The cross headed straight to Kamara and into the back of the net in a flash, prompting Kamara’s ode to the old logo with his celebration.
Tchani: Right Place, Right Time
Pipa’s corner pinballs off two New York defenders, but the ball failed to be seriously redirected after traveling through a crowd of eight players. While the ball was in the air, Tony Tchani wisely slid behind the defense towards the unoccupied space to the left of goalkeeper Luis Robles. Once the ball arrived at his feet, Tchani was staring at nothing but twine.
Pipa’s Back-heel Dandy
Rafael Ramos put this play in motion with a turnover that went straight to Finlay. Pipa went to challenge Ramos prior to his turnover, so he was already in plenty of space only a few yards out. By the time he got the ball, Donovan Ricketts was looming and Pipa had to fire off a shot quickly – and that he did.
Meram Fires It Into the Upper 90
Just like the first goal of the match, Meram’s opportunity presented itself after an Orlando City turnover in its own box. Cristian Higuita did a nice job of intercepting the cross, but Kamara’s effort to get him off the ball was even better. Meram then showed some nice handles in close quarters, creating space for the shot, and put Crew SC up 2-0.
Kamara Gets Chippy
A lot of credit goes out to Pipa for setting up this opportunity. He was running away from Kamara and the net, but still had the presence of mind to throw a lobbed through ball towards Kamara as soon as he got to the ball. Given the difficulty of a chip shot, many attackers would have opted to deke out the goalie and shoot the ball from inside the box, but Kamara saw the opportunity for the chip and seized it.
Chest, Foot, Goal
John McCarthy’s clearance took a wicked bounce back towards the box, right to a sprinting Finlay. Philadelphia was caught on its heels and out of position, allowing Kamara to roam free. Finlay’s cross didn’t lead him towards goal, but Kamara stayed composed, settled the ball and fired away.
This ball went from Crew SC's half to the back of the net in just two passes. Both of those passes could not have been more on target. Finlay was Johnny-on-the-spot after Steven Vitória whiffed on the clearance, freezing McCarthy and giving Finlay enough room to slot it home.
Meram Will Not Be Denied
Meram looks like a freight train cutting through Philadelphia’s back line. He outmuscles two Philadelphia defenders and fires off a cannon that proved to be too hot for McCarthy to handle. Sometimes, there is just no denying an effort like that.
Finlay Hits the Turbo Button
Over a span of 10 seconds and two passes, the ball made its way from the foot of Steve Clark to the back of Philadelphia’s net. Kamara put forth a great effort winning the 50-50 ball and corralling it prior to finding Finlay along the wing. As soon as Finlay recognized Kamara’s control of the ball, he turned on the afterburners and blew by Fabinho with ease to set up the score.
Kamara Heads It Home
Kamara did well to create space and momentum for himself, but a lot of credit is due to Francis and Meram for keeping the chance alive. That opportunity was one poor touch and clearance away from dissapating, but Francis and Meram were patient and methodical in their ball-handling before Francis sent in the all-important cross.
Pipa Goes for a Stroll
Seattle’s defense was so prepared for another cross that it didn’t anticipate Pipa rolling into the box. He had plenty of space to wind up and find a spot amongst all of the traffic in front of net. Not to mention he had all of Seattle’s defenders chasing.
Kamara’s Finesse Touch
This was an impressive display of discipline from Kamara. He recognized Seattle’s defense was swarming him and the immediacy of the situation, so he calmly put it away as soon as the ball arrived. Hector Jimenez also showed some hustle in saving the ball that he eventually sent Kamara’s way.
Off the Side of His Foot
Meram played the role of facilitator on this attack. He made two slick moves to evade defenders and in the process, drew a lot of attention, thus deflecting attention away from Finlay and Kamara. When Finlay got the ball, it was essentially two on zero and an easy play to execute from there.
Follow the Bouncing Ball
Kamara sure does have a tendency to be at the right place at the right time, huh? When Kevan George got his head on the ball, Chicago’s defense became focused on him, instead of continuing to mark their respective Crew SC players. Kamara slipped away from Jeff Larentowicz and had a wide open look at goal by the time the ball arrived.
Pipa’s Stoppage-time Tally
With George and Kamara pressing so far forward, Pipa found his way into the small pocket of space behind them and took advantage of a loose ball. He even had the presence of mind to take a touch, settle the ball down and finish it with some power.
Finlay Sprints, Pipa Finishes
As we’ve seen before, Finlay can sprint with the best of them, and he did exactly that here. Well, he also got a bit of help with Leonardo failing to clear the ball, but Finlay still made a great decision with keeping the ball low on the cross and putting it exactly where Pipa was going to be.