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.