COLUMBUS, Ohio — Points to ponder after the Crew snatched a tie from victory when FC Dallas scored in the third minute of added time on Saturday in Pizza Hut Park.
Been there, done that: Former Crew striker Jeff Cunningham scored in the first half but was countered by Adam Moffat’s tally in the 52nd minute and Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s follow of his saved penalty in the 82nd. Just as the Crew thought they had their first road game of the season wrapped up poor clearances, bad bounces, questionable officiating and a wicked shot off the foot of Eric Avila shot gave the home side an improbable point.
The match eerily resembled the 1-1 tie at Los Angeles last May down to the long, well-placed strike for the equalizer by the Galaxy’s Eddie Lewis in stoppage time. Schelotto put the Crew ahead in that one, too, and defender Danny O’Rourke was shown red in each.
In the LA match, it was a second yellow in the run of play in the 90th minute. O’Rourke was booted Saturday for abusive language as many of the Crew voiced their displeasure at referee Jasen Anno for allowing a quick restart and missing a possible handball in the seconds leading to Avila’s marker.
Not so good bye: After opening the season March 27 with a thorough 2-0 win over Toronto FC, the Crew credited their two-game CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series for making them sharp. Following the tie at FC Dallas in which the Crew was feeble in the first half and had only one corner kick for the game compared to 10 vs. TFC, the talk was of losing an edge because of the bye week.
“Not playing last week had something to do with that, not getting into a rhythm,” midfielder Adam Moffat said. “The first game had rhythm but this one took a little while to get going. We played better the second half and had some chances. Once you get into the rhythm every week and get into the flow of things you’ll see it get better.”
FC Dallas also had two weeks in between games. The Crew have another open weekend before hosting MLS Cup champion Real Salt Lake on April 24.
Atiba the Hun?: Crew coach Robert Warzycha is unlike many coaches in that he is not afraid to call out opposing players. Last season, he chastised Seattle Sounders defender Tyrone Marshall for accusing Crew forward Steven Lenhart of elbowing him that led to Marshall retaliating and drawing a red card.
“If you get a red card and you did something stupid, just be a man and admit it,” Warzycha said at the time of Marshall.
Warzycha’s venom is now directed toward FCD forward Atiba Harris after Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven had to leave the match with a blood-gushing split lip following a meeting with Harris’ elbow. It’s the third time Harris has felled a Crew in the past 53 weeks.
“He gave Chad [Marshall] a concussion when he played for Chivas,” Warzycha said. “He says he never does anything on purpose and he always cuts somebody open. The last time we were here he just killed [Shaun] Francis and he’s still injured.”
A Harris elbow forced Marshall from the game with facial lacerations a year ago when Harris was with Chivas USA. Marshall, who missed the final two months of the 2007 season because of concussions, sat the next match due to reoccurring headaches from the hit.
Francis, a rookie defender, severely sprained his left ankle following a tackle by Harris during a preseason match on March 20.
In memoriam: While Philadelphia Union coach Peter Nowak decided to coach against D.C. United from the Lincoln Financial Field press box because of Saturday’s plane crash in Russia that killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski and 96 others, including some of Nowak’s friends, Warzycha decided it was best to be on the sideline.
The Crew coach said he didn't talk to his former Polish national teammate Nowak after news of the accident.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the families and everybody not only in Poland but outside of Poland because he was our president,” Warzycha said.
A number of things: Schelotto made his first eight tries from the spot in MLS play but has been unsuccessful in the past two. He shot left of goal against Seattle on Oct. 3 and had his penalty kick saved by Kevin Hartman on Saturday before heading in the rebound. Schelotto did convert against Toluca in the Champions League on March 17…
The Crew have started the season with a win six times but dropped to 0-5-1 in the second match with Saturday’s draw. Their best start was 2-0-1 in 2003. The other time they were undefeated (0-0-3) through three was 2007. The Crew (1-0-1) might want to lose to Real Salt Lake in the next outing pp both those seasons it failed to make the playoffs.