Recap: Crew vs. Municipal
While everyone was slipping and sliding on the mud pit known as Estadio Nacional Mateo Flores, Guillermo “Pando” Ramirez found his footing long enough for two quality finishes to sink the visiting Columbus Crew on Tuesday.
His goals in the 19th and 39th minutes staked CSD Municipal to the lead and the Guatemalan side held on for a 2-1 victory in Group B of the CONCACAF Champions League.
The match ended in controversy with players and coaches from both sides on the field arguing and a brawl almost erupted to complete a physical and sloppy night of play.
Andy Iro scored in the 45th minute for the undermanned Crew, who played this one in a downpour and never quite found the decisive touch on a field littered with puddles.
Also muddied is the qualification picture heading into the final games in Group B next month.
Santos Laguna defeated Trinidad’s Joe Public 5-1 in Mexico on Tuesday and took the lead with 10 points (3-1-1), while the Crew (3-2) have nine and Municipal moved just a point back with a 2-1-2 record.
The top two teams advance to the quarterfinals. Santos host Municipal on Oct. 19 while the Crew play at Joe Public two days later.
All Columbus needed was a point at Municipal to clinch a spot, but Ramirez, who scored the overtime winner for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the 2005 MLS Cup, scored a wicked goal to put los Rojos ahead.
He dribbled toward the center of the muck around Adam Moffat, then cutback and faked Moffat again to get open before firing with his left foot from 25 yards. The ball sailed into the upper left corner.
To that point the match had belonged to the home team because of the Crew’s inability to get out of its own way. Municipal had three free kicks from around the arc in the first 17 minutes but failed miserably on every attempt.
Municipal took advantage of a leaky defense for the second goal, as Ramirez got behind the Crew’s back line and dribbled into the box. His shot from the right side was stopped by Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum, but the ball bounced once before settling into the goal.
Columbus did very little but found themselves down only a goal at the break when Iro pounded home a Duncan Oughton corner kick just seconds before the whistle.
While Municipal went with most of its regulars, the Crew left starters William Hesmer, Chad Marshall, Brian Carroll, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Emmanuel Ekpo, Danny O’Rourke, Frankie Hejduk and Emilio Renteria at home, and only 15 players traveled.
Right back Josh Williams, a PDL player with Cleveland who was signed two weeks ago, made his Crew debut and left back Gino Padula played his first match since July 14 after recovering from knee and ankle injuries.
MUN – Guillermo Ramirez (19')
MUN – Guillermo Ramirez (39')
CLB – Andy Iro (45')
CLB – Gino Padula (caution: reckless tackle) 11’
MUN – Gonzalo Romero (caution: reckless tackle) 72’
CLB – Adam Moffat (caution: reckless tackle) 76’
CLB – Duncan Oughton (caution: reckless tackle) 88’
CLB – Steven Lenhart (caution: reckless tackle) 90’
COLUMBUS – Andy Gruenebaum; Josh Williams (Steven Lenhart, 67’), Andy Iro, Eric Brunner, Gino Padula; Adam Moffat, Duncan Oughton, Leandre Griffit (Kevin Burns 65’), Dilly Duka (Shaun Francis, 79’); Jason Garey, Andres Mendoza.
MUNICIPAL – Rony Alvarez; Yony Flores, Pablo Melgar, Jaime Vides, Cristian Noriega; Guillermo Ramirez, Sergio Guevara, Gonzalo Romero; Juan Castillo (Diego Alfonso, 72’), Mario Rodriguez, Marvin Avila.