It was a tale of two halves when Crew SC took on LA Galaxy at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday night.
Los Angeles controlled the first period, while Crew SC took command in the second. Each club picked up a goal and a handful of substantial scoring chances, resulting in an evenly-fought 1-1 draw on Saturday night.
As they often do, the match numbers help tell the story, especially with such a change in momentum after halftime. Here, we break down the key statistics from Columbus and LA's first and only meeting of the season.
The number of hours by which kick-off was delayed. Severe thunderstorms passing directly over Columbus forced MAPFRE Stadium officials to send everyone in attendance to take cover before the match commenced. Players continued to stay loose during the delay and were granted an additional 15-minute warm-up period prior to the 9:40 PM kick-off.
The number represents the Galaxy's first-half shot total and Crew SC’s second-half tally. Each club also registered four on-target shots during their respective halves of dominance. Goalkeepers Steve Clark and Jaime Penedo stood tall and picked up a combined seven saves. The number 8 also represents Ethan Finlay’s assist total on the season. The midfielder leads Major League Soccer in that category, one ahead of Sporting Kansas City’s Benny Feilhaber.
Federico Higuaín’s second-half tally elevated him to 31 career MLS goals, all of which he scored for the Black & Gold. The goal was his fourth of the season, putting him in second place on the team behind League-leader Kei Kamara.
Crew SC’s second-half possession total. Though possession numbers can be deceiving, Crew SC spent a significant amount of time in the attacking half during the final 45 minutes and tested Los Angeles’s backline throughout. The full-time possession leaned towards Crew SC with the Black & Gold coming away with a 54.8% advantage.
Columbus Crew SC versus LA Galaxy – a match so highly anticipated we didn't have enough seats for everybody.
So we added more.
We have installed temporary seating on both the north and south ends of MAPFRE Stadium, so more of Major League Soccer’s loudest fans can support the Black & Gold.
More chanting, more cheering, more noise. MAPFRE Stadium is a fortress and what promises to be one of the largest home crowds will help defend it on Saturday.
Since the stage was added to the south end of the stadium in 2007, additional seating for an MLS match has been implemented only twice. In both cases, Los Angeles was the opponent.
The first expanded-capacity match was played on Sept. 30, 2007, when 24,300 supporters filled the stadium for a match that Crew SC lost narrowly, 2-1.
A year later, on Oct. 4, 2008, another expanded-capacity-size crowd of 22,685 witnessed an air-tight defensive performance from the Black & Gold. Crew SC limited the Galaxy to 10 shots and three corner kicks. Most importantly, Los Angeles was unable to find the back of the net while Crew SC did. Alejandro Moreno scored the game winner during the waning moments of the first half.
A win of this nature, one where much of the second half was spent protecting a slim lead, required not only smart defensive play, but a home crowd that carried the Black & Gold to victory.
“We’re excited to play in front of a full house,” Sporting Director & Head Coach Gregg Berhalter said this week. “When we play in front of a lot of fans, the atmosphere is incredible.”
Don't miss your opportunity to be part of that incredible experience. We still have open seats and there’s one with your name on it. Come to MAPFRE Stadium, bring your lungs and help defend our fortress!
Columbus Crew SC will face LA Galaxy for the 40th time in franchise history on Saturday, when the Black & Gold host the current MLS Cup Champions at MAPFRE Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
Crew SC holds a slim 16-14-9 advantage in the all-time series and aims to improve that record as it pursues its playoff push. Over the years, the series has created some special moments. We wanted to share five of our favorites.
Aug. 28, 1996 – Welcome to Columbus!
Prior to this matchup, the two clubs split their first two meetings of the League’s inaugural season, both of which took place in Southern California. When LA made its way to Columbus for the first time, the club ran into a red-hot Black & Gold group that had ripped off five consecutive wins... and the streak didn’t end there.
Crew SC tacked on goals at both ends of the match with a ninth-minute score by Paul Caligiuri and a 72nd-minute goal courtesy of Brian McBride. Robert Warzycha assisted on both goals. Los Angeles only mustered up four on-target shots, all of which were handled by goalkeeper Pat Harrington to spur Crew SC to the 2-0 win. The Black & Gold went on to extend their winning streak to eight matches.
Oct. 24, 2002 – Black & Gold clinch U.S. Open Cup title
The Galaxy had won their first MLS Cup in club history just three days prior to meeting Columbus for the U.S. Open Cup final. The match was a tightly-contested and physical one, as the two sides combined for 34 fouls and Crew SC’s Chad McCarty was sent off in the 83rd minute after picking up his second yellow.
LA held a 19-10 advantage in shots, but Freddy García, who did not register a goal during MLS play, put Crew SC up 1-0 in the 30th minute. The score would remain that way for the duration of the match to send Crew SC to its first U.S. Open Cup title.
April 2, 2005 – Crew SC opens its season with a bang
Three goals on eight shots is an impressive ratio, if you ask us. Crew SC wasted no time hopping onto the score sheet when Edson Buddle redirected a Manny Lagos cross into the back of the net in the eighth minute. Buddle secured a brace in the 47th, just seven minutes prior to Ante Razov scoring goal No. 3 of the evening.
Los Angeles held advantages in shots (14-8) and corners (6-2), but only three shots required goalkeeper Jon Busch’s attention in this 3-0 shutout.
June 23, 2007 – 10 men, no problem
This match was bonkers, complete with loads of scoring opportunities, two failed penalty kicks and one ejected Ezra Hendrickson. The Vincentian international, that’s Saint Vincent and the Grenadines if you were unaware, was issued a red card after an aggressive challenge on LA defender Ian Russell in the 29th minute.
Chad Marshall and Ned Grabavoy scored the match’s first two goals to put Crew SC up 2-0 by the 58th minute. The final half an hour saw three more goals, including a stoppage-time goal from former Crew SC forward Edson Buddle. Peter Vagenas came close to equalizing three minutes later, but thanks to a diving save by Williams Hesmer Crew SC would hang on for the 3-2 win.
Aug. 16, 2014 – Big crowd, big win
A sell-out crowd of 20,729 in Columbus witnessed one of Crew SC’s most prolific offensive performances of 2014. Four different players scored each of the club’s four goals in Crew SC’s 4-1 rout of the Galaxy.
The Black & Gold scored their goals in bunches. Justin Meram and Ethan Finlay scored just 10 minutes apart from one another in the first half (23’ and 33’), while Ben Speas and Giancarlo González followed suit with goals just nine minutes apart (75’ and 84’).
This Saturday’s match will be LA's first trip back to Columbus since the lopsided loss, and we would love to see you there. Click here to get your tickets... they are going fast.
Ahead of his final trip to Columbus, Landon Donovan took the time to reflect on his favorite memories from his matches here, which included multiple appearances for the United States National Team, the 2001 MLS Cup Final and the 2005 MLS All-Star Game.
When push came to shove, however, Donovan went with two specific "Dos a Cero" memories as his favorites.
"My two favorites [memories] are my first [World Cup Qualifier vs. Mexico], which I didn't actually play in the game, but being on the bench and watching Josh Wolff [and Earnie Stewart] score," said Donovan. "Winning 2-0 for the first time there and just realizing what a special atmosphere it was. Some of us had played in big games around the world and experienced that, but we'd never experienced that at home. So to have that was really incredible. Then my last experience [at Crew Stadium], playing Mexico and winning 2-0, was special. To score a goal there in what ended being my last game against Mexico was really special."
What do you think, Crew fans? Do you agree with Donovan? Vote on your favorite memory of Landon's career at Crew Stadium and let your voice be heard.
Fans in Columbus have been treated to many memorable Landon Donovan moments in this city over the years. With the American soccer legend set to retire following the season, Saturday's match figures to be the final time Donovan will ever appear on the Crew Stadium pitch. His coach, Bruce Arena, reflected on that from Los Angeles:
"Landon's had a lot of good moments in Columbus," said Arena, who also has ties to the Crew through his coaching career alongside Gregg Berhalter. "Obviously with the National Team, the number of victories, especially over Mexico … I think he won an MLS Cup in Columbus as well.
"Obviously there are a lot of big moments with the National Team and with his club teams in Columbus. It'll be sad to see it as the last time around on Saturday, but having said that, I think he's had nothing but great experiences there."