Sirk’s Notebook: Crew SC’s Milestone Goals

Now that Justin Meram has done the honors of scoring the 1,000th regular season goal in Columbus Crew SC history, let’s take a look back at the road to 1,000. Here is the history of the other milestone goals along the way.

Goal #1

Own goal (Thor Lee)
Columbus 4, D.C. United 0
April 13, 1996

There’s something deeply dissatisfying about having your very first goal in club history scored by someone not on your team. Alas, it’s one of the many unique “firsts” by a club whose history is awash in them.

In the 18th minute of the inaugural game, Columbus midfielder Doctor Khumalo sent a low cross into the D.C. United box. United defender Thor Lee knocked it into his own net to give the Black & Gold the 1-0 lead. Columbus would go on to win the match 4-0.

Afterward, D.C. United head coach Bruce Arena said, “Our defenders broke down big-time tonight. We can't afford to give away goals.”

Over the next several years, D.C. would take far more than they gave to Columbus.

Goal #2

Brian McBride
Columbus 4, D.C. United 0
April 13, 1996

This is a club milestone goal because it was the first one actually scored by a Columbus player. In the 29th minute of the inaugural game, Brian McBride juked a United defender to the ground and then unleashed a left-footed laser into the roof of the net from 17 yards out.

“What happened was he slipped and got back up,” McBride said after the game. “I knew he had to reach, so I just had to touch the ball barely to get past him. I felt I didn't have to hurry it and was able to get behind it.”

Goal #100

Mike Clark
Columbus 1, @ MetroStars 0
September 25, 1997

Rugged defender Mike Clark scored all of three goals in his eight-year career with Columbus, but one them happened to be the 100th goal in club history. Not only that, it was the only goal in a win that clinched a playoff berth for the Black & Gold.

Robert Warzycha’s corner kick found Clark at the back post. His low shot skidded off the wet turf and bounced off of MetroStars goalkeeper Tony Meola and into the net.

Goal #200

Jeff Cunningham
@ D.C. United 2, Columbus 1
August 14, 1999

Cunningham, who would go on to become Crew SC’s all-time leading goalscorer, tied the game in the 47th minute. D.C. United would regain the lead in the 58th minute on a soft penalty. Stern John’s apparent equalizer in the 84th minute was waved off because of a non-existent foul. It was one of the more frustrating regular season losses during the dreaded “RFK Jinx” era of the Columbus-D.C. rivalry.

Afterward, Cunningham expressed his displeasure the two game-changing calls that bent the score decisively in United’s favor, saying, “In the other games, they deserved to beat us. This one we deserved to win.”

Goal #300

Jeff Cunningham
Columbus 2, @ San Jose 2
August 11, 2001

Cunningham again!

He tied the game at 1-1 with an 18th minute goal. A player famous for his speed, this time he scored a scrappy and persistent goal. San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon saved a Brian McBride header off of a John Harkes corner kick. Cunningham headed the rebound back on net, but that was also denied. The rebound then fell to Cunningham’s right foot and this time he knocked it into the net.

Goal #400

Edson Buddle
Columbus 6, Chicago 2
October 26, 2003

The famous “Curtis Spiteri Game.” With their playoff position locked up and Columbus eliminated, Chicago inserted backup goalkeeper Curtis Spiteri into the game after halftime, with the Fire leading 2-0.

What followed as a six-goal onslaught by the Black & Gold. Poor Spiteri never had a chance as Columbus repeatedly shredded Chicago’s makeshift lineup.

Edson Buddle’s 85th minute goal, his second of the half, made it 5-2 and was the 400th goal in club history. It was most notable that the secondary assist belonged to Jake Traeger, a rookie making his MLS debut. Traeger became the first Ohio State Buckeye to appear in an MLS game and that was his first assist. He added another assist in the 90th minute to finish the season with two assists in just 12 minute of play. (And then a total 15 minutes for his MLS career.)

Goal #500

Jacob Thomas
Columbus 3, Dallas 1
September 30, 2006

On a night where the club honored Dante Washington on the field for his years (and stints) of service, this game produced the incredible “Dante Voltron” of scorers: a black guy (Joseph Ngwenya), a bald guy (Jacob Thomas), and jersey number 9 (Jason Garey.)

[For those of you not my age, Voltron was a cartoon when I was a kid where these five robot lions would combine to make one giant robot called Voltron. In this instance, the black guy, bald guy, and #9 formed the Dante Voltron.]

After the game, Washington declared the Dante Voltron to be “an incredible conglomerate of human beings.” When Thomas did the bald guy’s part in the 66th minute, he scored the 500th goal in club history. Sadly, Columbus was eliminated from playoff contention that night despite a 3-1 win in the rain. “It is too late,” Thomas said afterward, “but it's good we did have a win for the fans in the last (home) game.”

Goal #600

Chad Marshall
Columbus 2, Chicago 2
April 25, 2009

Goal #600 in club history was a connection that scored the winning goal in MLS Cup the previous November — a Guillermo Barros Schelotto corner kick and the head of Chad Marshall.

This time, it staked Columbus to an early 1-0 lead. The Black & Gold would squander a 2-0 lead in the final four minutes, as Brian McBride (86th) and Gonzalo Segares (88th) would score to give Chicago a stunning 2-2 comeback draw.

This game, of course, is most famous for a farcical first-half red card to Gino Padula and then the referee receiving Chicago star Cuauhtemoc Blanco’s jersey in plain view of many onlookers after the game. Blanco was the player fouled by Padula, so yeah, that turned into a thing.

Goal #700

Own goal (Kevin Alston)
Columbus 3, New England 1
August 13, 2011

Columbus outsourced another milestone goal. An Andres Mendoza cross intended for Tommy Heinemann hit New England defender Kevin Alston and bounced over goalkeeper Matt Reis and into the net for a 54th minute equalizer on the way to a 3-1 comeback win.

Goal #800

Jairo Arrieta
Columbus 4, @ Dallas 2
September 29, 2013

Jairo Arrieta’s 17th minute goal gave Columbus a 2-0 lead in a huge road win that kept the Black & Gold’s playoff hopes alive late in the 2013 season. The freaky-fast Dominic Oduro outran the Dallas defense like Willie Mays Hayes catching up and winning that spring training sprint in his pajamas in the movie Major League.

He then crossed the ball to Arrieta, who took a controlling touch and then banged a shot off the bottom of the crossbar. The ball bounced off the ground and up into the roof of the net for the 800th goal in Crew SC history.

Goal #900

Federico Higuain
Columbus 2, @ New York City 1
August 29, 2015

Most people think of Federico Higuain serving corner kicks. In order to reduce the strain on a hamstring injury Pipa was working through at the time, those duties were temporarily transferred to Wil Trapp. In the 10th minute, Higuain ran onto a Trapp service and nodded it into the net. This goal is most memorable for the comical defensive stylings of Andrea Pirlo. Seriously, watch the clip.

Goal #1,000

Justin Meram
Columbus 3, Chicago 1
August 12, 2017

Wil Trapp played Waylon Francis into the left channel. Francis sent a cross into the box and Justin Meram knocked it home. Not only was it the 1,000th goal in Columbus Crew SC history, but it was also a 73rd minute game-winning goal against the rival Fire. Both of those things are Massive. What a perfect way to achieve the milestone.

Questions? Comments? Starting the countdown to G2K? Feel free to write at or via twitter @stevesirk

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