Jeff Cunningham
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Crew defeats Toronto FC 4-2 in Reserves

The Columbus Crew convincingly defeated Toronto FC 4-2 in a Reserve League match on Sunday, Sept. 11. All four of the Crew’s goals came in the first half with Justin Meram, Kevin Burns and Jeff Cunningham (2) all scoring for the home team in the first half. Toronto’s Javier Martina and Doneil Henry scored one goal per half to fix the final result. Crew defender Shaun Francis recorded two assists while Cunningham also saw a penalty shot saved.

The first half was mostly a one-sided affair with the Crew attacking early and often and creating chances. The home team almost got on the board in the first minute with Francis making one of many overlapping runs down the flank but failing to connect with Cunningham in the box.

The first tally came in the 21st minute when Crew  defender Korey Veeder crossed a ball into the box for Cunningham. Cunningham took a shot but the ball bounced towards Meram who easily slotted it past Toronto ‘keeper Chad Bush.

Toronto responded 11 minutes later when defender Matt Gold took advantage of a momentary lapse in the Crew defense and found an open Martina on the right side. Martin went one-on-one with Crew goalie Chris Konopka and shot the ball into the bottom left corner of the net for the temporary tie.

In the 33rd Jeff Cunningham was brought down in the box and referee Ben Trevino Immediately to the spot. Cunningham took the shot only to see it saved by Bush who guessed the direction.

The Crew would re-take the advantage just a minute later with Meram squaring a ball to an open Burns who coolly shot it down the middle for the 2-1 lead.

Three minutes later It was Cunningham’s turn to get on the board thanks to another run and cross by Francis. The MLS all-time scoring leader slotted the cross into the bottom left corner with Bush unable to react quickly enough to save it.

The Francis-Cunningham combination came into play again in the 41st when the Crew defender found the forward who went one-on-one with Bush and easily beat him sending the teams to the locker rooms with the Crew up 4-1 at the half.

With a three goal advantage, the Crew was able to manage the second half fairly easily, thanks, in part to a very strong back line. Toronto forward Javier Martina came close to scoring a couple of times with his best opportunity coming in the 65th minute only to see Crew center-backs Josh Williams and Eric Gehrig take away his chances.

Gehrig’s twin brother Greg – who was able to play a few minutes for the Crew as a non-rostered player— came close to scoring in the 78th minute but was not able to connect with a Korey Veeder cross.

Toronto pulled one back in the 85th minute on a corner kick taken by midfielder Nathan Sturgis. Defender Henry made a quick run into the box and headed the ball behind Konopka fixing the result at 4-2.


  • The Crew is now 5-1-0 in Reserve League matches
  • With the loss Toronto drops to 0-5-2.
  • The match saw the return of midfielder Leandre Griffit to Crew Stadium after being traded with defender Andy Iro for midfielder Tony Tchani on July 15. Griffit started the game and played the full match.
  • The Crew returns to reserve league play on Sunday, September 18 at 10 a.m. as faces the Union in Philadelphia, Pa.
  • TFC’s next reserve League match is Saturday, October 1st , as they host the New York Red Bulls.   

Columbus Crew 4, Toronto FC 2

Crew Stadium                           
Sunday, September 11, 2011

Scoring Summary:

CLB – Justin Meram (Jeff Cunningham) 21

TFC – Javier Martina (Matt Gold) 32

CLB – Kevin Burns (Justin Meram) 34

CLB – Jeff Cunningham (Shaun Francis) 37

CLB – Jeff Cunningham (Shaun Francis) 41

TFC – Doneil Henry (Nathan Sturgis) 85

Columbus Crew – Chris Konopka, Korey Veeder, Josh Williams, Eric Gehrig, Shaun Francis (Ben Sippola, 71), Danny O’Rourke (Santiago Prim, 65), Cole Grossman, Kevin Burns (Greg Gehrig*,75) Dejan Rusmir, Justin Meram (George Davis*,71), Jeff Cunningham (Aaron Horton, 54)

Substitutes Not Used: Chase Harrison*, Dominic Aracri*,

Toronto FC – Chad Bush*, Matt Gold (Deon Rose*, 81), Doneil Henry, Eddy Viator, Tyler Pasher*, Nathan Sturgis, Oscar Cordon (Jay Chapman*, 5), Gianluca Zavarise, Javier Martina, Leandre Griffit, Keith Makubuya (Michael Petrasso*, 46)

*Denotes non-roster players

Misconduct Summary:
TFC – Eddy Viator (Caution) 48
CLB – Dejan Rusmir (Caution) 51


Referee: Ben Trevino
Referee's Assistants: Cory Richardson, Brandon Rinkberger
4th Official: Grant Brown

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