steve punch vs orlando
Kim Klement / USA TODAY

SIRK’S NOTEBLOG: Historic reversal in Orlando

When Ola Kamara scored his second goal of the night on Saturday, it did more than ice a 4-1 road win for Columbus in Orlando. It also created an obscure bit of Crew SC history.

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Last year, Columbus dropped a 5-2 decision in Camping World Stadium. The blowout loss came on the heels of coughing up a 3-0 second-half lead at home against Toronto. Eight goals allowed in three halves of soccer was unquestionably the nadir of the 2015 season. However, after the Orlando debacle, Crew SC went 7-3-1 down the stretch and then advanced to the MLS Cup final.

With Saturday’s 4-1 victory, it dawned on me that Columbus flipped a three-goal loss in the prior visit into a three-goal victory in the following visit. That seemed like it would be rare. In fact, it is. It was the first time in club history that the Black & Gold flipped a three-goal loss into a three-goal win in consecutive visits to a venue.

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There have been 29 instances where Crew SC lost a competitive road game to an MLS team by three or more goals. I am counting MLS regular season, MLS Cup playoffs, Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, and CONCACAF Champions League games. I then looked at the Black & Gold’s next competitive match in the same venue. Please note that there are only 28 follow-up results since this year’s 3-0 loss to Toronto FC at BMO Field will linger unresolved until Columbus ventures back, either in the playoffs or in 2017.

It may seem that after getting beaten in a venue, the follow-up visit wouldn’t bode well. Amazingly, Columbus is 11-13-4 in the first trip back to the scene of a three-goal defeat. Ah-ha, but in the case of Orlando, it was two separate seasons.

When the follow-up visit is in the same season, Crew SC is 6-7-1. When the follow-up visit is in another year, they are 5-6-3. So more or less identical.

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Sometimes, returning to the scene of the crime is disastrous. Two instances in club history, Crew SC returned to a venue and lost again in a manner that resulted in a combined minus-six goal differential:

Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, FL)

03/18/2000: Tampa Bay 5, Columbus 1
05/13/2000: Tampa Bay 3, Columbus 1

Giants Stadium (East Rutherford, NJ)

05/19/2007: New York 4, Columbus 0
04/05/2008: New York 2, Columbus 0

On the much happier side, there have been two instances where Crew SC lost by three or more goals, then won their subsequent visit by a large enough margin to create a six-goal swing:

CenturyLink Field (Seattle, WA)

08/27/2011: Seattle 6, Columbus 2
05/23/2012: Columbus 2, Seattle 0

Camping World Stadium (Orlando, FL)

08/01/2015: Orlando 5, Columbus 2
09/17/2016: Columbus 4, Orlando 1

In 2015, a three-goal loss in Orlando kicked off a memorable run to the playoffs that culminated in MLS Cup. Here’s hoping that in 2016, a three-goal win in Orlando will do the same. We will know more after this Sunday’s huge game against the New England Revolution.

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