Another game, another win for Columbus
A win is a win is a win.
As Bill Murray said in Meatballs: “It just doesn’t matter.”
It just doesn’t matter that the Crew had only one shot on
goal against Real Salt Lake in the rematch of the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals
won by Real Salt Lake in an upset.
It just doesn’t matter that the Crew had to hold on at the
end thanks to the goalkeeping of William Hesmer, who could have slept for 75
minutes but made three saves in the final 15 minutes.
All Crew coach Robert Warzycha knows is the Crew (2-0-1) are
off to a better start than 2009, when they opened the defense of their MLS
title with a 0-2-5 record.
Watch: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
Robbie Rogers was fouled in the box and Guillermo Barros
Schelotto converted in the 38th minute at waterlogged Crew Stadium.
And guess what? That was enough for the win.
“I’ll take it. How pretty was it last season when we didn’t
win in seven games?” Warzycha said. “I’d rather win this crappy game knowing
that we are going to play much better than play a good game and lose. Today, it was enough. We had one shot on goal and scored.
I’m happy about that.”
It wasn’t pretty, but the Crew are unbeaten after three
games for only the third time in club history.
“It was a scrappy game for sure,” midfielder Robbie Rogers
said. “You could tell that we weren’t as sharp as we usually are, especially at
home,” he said. “It was kind of a chippy game. This was probably the worst game we’ve played at home,
especially because we had these breaks."
While Real Salt Lake started the game without midfielder
Javier Morales and forward Robbie Findley because they were nursing injuries –
they entered in the 62nd minute and provided a jolt – the Crew were
without MLS Defender of the Year Chad Marshall (hamstring).
Eric Brunner returned from a concussion to take his spot in
the central defense.
“It was good to get out there again,” Brunner said. “I felt
composed out there. I felt comfortable.”
RSL (1-3-1) went 34 minutes without a shot until their fifth
of the match in the 76th minute. Hesmer then went to work. He made a
diving stop off a Nelson González free kick in the 82nd and came out
to deny Findley’s breakaway in the 88th.
“It was coming through traffic,” Hesmer said of the free
kick. “You have to wait for the last second to wait to take off for it.”
As for the decisive penalty kick, it wasn’t necessarily
meant for Schelotto’s foot. Rogers told the Argentine star on Friday that if
the team earned a PK, he wanted to the spotlight.
“I told him if I got a PK I would take it,” Rogers said.
“[Guillermo Barros Schelotto] came up and asked me.”
Rogers, however, passed on the moment: “[Warzycha] would kill me,” he said
On this night, Warzycha didn’t care who scored. A win is a
“Our goal is not to make the playoffs like some of the other
clubs,” Warzycha said. “Our goal is to win the Supporters’ Shield.”