By Brad Friedman / ColumbusCrewSC.com
For the second time in five days Columbus defeated the Chicago Fire, and a trio of Crew SC attackers had a huge impact on the Black & Gold's 3-1 victory.
Federico Higuaín, Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay each found the back of the net against a Chicago side that played a man down after Fire forward Jason Johnson saw his second yellow in the 50th minute.
You can catch the full recap of Sunday’s match here, but the box score tells a story too.
Finlay etched his named into the MLS record books by earning the earliest penalty kick in League history, just 13 seconds into the match. The midfielder went tumbling to the ground after Sean Johnson clipped his leg during a chip attempt. Higuain stepped up to the spot and drove home Crew SC’s first penalty kick of the season.
Higuaín’s penalty kick set off a frenzied start to the match. Just seven minutes after the opening goal, Chicago’s David Accam went top-shelf on a free kick after a fortuitous bounce off the Crew SC wall. Just eight minutes later Crew SC fired back. Waylon Francis maneuvered his way along the edge of the box and delivered a perfect chip for a soaring Kamara, who strongly finished his header towards the upper 90. For those keeping track, that's three goals in just 17 minutes.
Crew SC’s possession advantage helped the home side control the pace of the game. The Black & Gold showed patience, especially in the final third, making extra passes to open up better looks against the 10-man visitors. One example: In the 77th minute Kamara settled down a cross on the right side of the box and had space to shoot, but he instead worked back in the hopes of finding a better opportunity. A few passes later, Wil Trapp found even more space and fired off a shot from just outside the box which narrowly missed the post.
Currently, four different U.S. Gold Cup veterans – Michael Parkhurst, Frankie Hejduk, Josh Wolff and Gregg Berhalter – call Columbus Crew SC their home. As the United States is heading into the knockout stage of the 2015 tournament, we thought we share with you the Gold Cup highlights of each of them.
Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter
1998 was a special year for Gregg Berhalter. The defender returned to the U.S. Men's National Team after being absent for nearly two years due to injury. Berhalter made two appearances for the U.S. that year, including a start in the 3-0 Gold Cup win over Cuba. He was part of the squad that accomplished one of the greatest moments in U.S. soccer history, a 1-0 defeat of reigning World Cup champions Brazil in the semifinals. It was the team’s first goal against Brazil since the first ever game between the two sides in 1930. The victory remains the USA’s only one against Brazil.
Crew SC Captain and Defender Michael Parkhurst
Defender Michael Parkhurst made his first-ever appearance for the United States in the 2007 Gold Cup against Guatemala. He started two matches in the tournament that ended with the U.S. defeating Mexico 2-1 in the final. The Columbus defensive stalwart proved his value again in 2013’s tournament, starting five matches and tallying two assists. As a right back, Parkhurst’s converting on the little details made his inclusion all the more valuable. One example: After a deft touch to set up a pass out wide in the 2013 final against Panama, Parkhurst made an overlapping run to draw the defender with him to open up a U.S. cross into the box for the game-winning goal.
Assistant Coach Josh Wolff
We can thank Crew SC Assistant Coach Josh Wolff for helping bring home the 2002 Gold Cup title, as the former USMNT forward scored the game-winning goal in the 2002 final against Costa Rica. Of course, credit must be given where credit is due, as it was former Crew SC defender Frankie Hejduk providing the assist to put the U.S. up 1-0. Wolff’s Gold Cup career didn’t end in 2002, as the forward continued his goal scoring tendencies in 2005, slotting one home against Jamaica in the Gold Cup quarterfinals, helping the U.S. advance towards the finals, where the U.S. would end up claiming victory over Panama for the nation’s 4th Gold Cup crown.
What would a Crew SC-Gold Cup tribute list be without Frankie Hejduk. The USMNT and Crew SC veteran made an appearance in five separate Gold Cups, never leaving the tournament empty handed. The wily defender played an integral part in the championship-winning squads of 2002, 2005 and 2007, providing a golazo of his own during the 2007 semifinal win over Canada, while taking home runners-up honors in 1998 and the third-place prize in 2003.
Crew SC took the reins and dictated play right from the onset off the Black & Gold's match in Bridgeview, Illinois.
Smart ball movement, creative attacking, and a bend-but-don’t-break defense led Columbus to its first road win of the season, defeating the Fire 1-0.
Crew SC experienced two substantial turnarounds this week: playing another road match just four days after taking on the Impact north of the border, and a turnaround in the box score. Here, we’ll take a closer look at those numbers to see how they affected the outcome.
First, a tip of our hat goes out to Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson. He made six saves, some of them exceptional, including his tip over the crossbar on Ethan Finlay's breakaway, and kept Chicago in the match until the final whistle. Johnson’s 6’3’’, 217-pound frame came in handy when he needed to lunge after Crew SC’s seven on-target attempts.
2 out of 8
Crew SC was able to limit Chicago’s opportunities throughout the night, especially during the first half. Only two of the Fire's eight shots made their way to Steve Clark, though Jason Johnson’s 81st-minute bender from outside of the box snaked its way through traffic and had a decent chance of finding the back of the net. Luckily for Crew SC, Clark was there when he needed to be, and the backline took care of the rest.
11 & 13
Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay are one of the most dynamic duos in the MLS, so it’s only appropriate their respective stats be grouped together. When Finlay lobbed up a cross into the middle of the box from the right side during the 41st minute, Kamara charged in and struck a powerful header to give Crew SC the match’s only score. The goal was Kamara’s 13th of the season, and the assist was Finlay’s 11th. Both players lead the League in their respective categories.
The men and women in our nation's military make enormous sacrifices while serving overseas.
To help make their tours of duty a little bit easier, Crew SC players Sergio Campbell and Kalen Ryden joined forces with Operation Buckeye to send some love from Central Ohio to servicemen and women everywhere.
After celebrating Military Appreciation night presented by Heartland Bank at MAPFRE Stadium on July 4, Ryden and Cambpell spent Wednesday afternoon filling care packages with food, toiletries, and letters of encouragment to help brighten soldiers’ spirits while they serve the United States Military in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Operation Buckeye's mission is to "bring a touch of home and brighten a day of a solider." The organization has sent tens-of-thousands of care packages to troops since its founding.
The event was held as a part of Crew SC's Give Forward Initiative, which is sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance.
Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter didn't sugarcoat the fact that he wasn't happy with his team's performance in the 3-0 loss to the Montreal Impact on Saturday night.
Kamara led Crew SC's attack with five shots in the match against the Impact, extending his season total to 81. The forward currently ranks second in the League in shots, 10 behind Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco.