Leandre Griffit gets the Crew on the board with a second half goal
Jamie Sabau - Getty Images

Recap: Crew vs. Joe Public

Goals four minutes apart by Leandre Griffit and Jason Garey after the break erased memories of a tepid first half as the Columbus Crew downed Trinidad’s Joe Public 3-0 Tuesday in a Group B match of the CONCACAF Champions League.

The Crew Stadium crowd had been dulled by the inefficiency of both teams before Griffit struck in the 47th minute with a deft shot from 17 yards on the left side that skipped into the right corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.

Garey added a score in the 51st minute thanks to a set up by Emmanuel Ekpo. Garey’s snap header from six yards traveled right to left across the goalmouth.

Steven Lenhart came off the bench to score the final goal with an assist to Dilly Duka in the 79th minute.

Columbus have six points through three matches, while Joe Public are stuck at the bottom of the Group B standings with one point and a -6 goal differential halfway through group play.

Griffit changed the course of the game with deft kick off his unnatural right foot. The play formed when Andres Mendoza was in the middle of the park on the Joe Public side when he spotted Griffit on the left flank.

After first starting toward the left corner, Griffit cut back and was just inside the box with a step on defender Nigel Daniel when he sliced a shot that took one bounce past a goalkeeper Marvin Phillip and slipped inside the right post.

Garey’s goal was also a beauty, as Ekpo did diligent work along the touchline then lofted a ball to Garey to help pad the lead.

On the third goal, the rookie Duka was at the top of the penalty area to dish the ball to Lenhart for a shot from 15 yards.

Joe Public dressed only 16 players due to visa problems for four players and suspensions to Jevon Morris and Jason Springer. Also, Trent Noel was in the original starting lineup but was scratched from the roster for an unknown reason.

Crew reserve goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum made his third straight Champions League start as part of a revised starting lineup that did not include regulars Frankie Hejduk, Brian Carroll, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Lenhart, Andy Iro and William Hesmer.

Mendoza, who scored in his second Crew appearance Saturday against Los Angeles, made his first start.

Columbus opened play with a couple of serious probes that resulted in nothing. First, Griffit sent a cross from the left that Garey headed into the hands of goalkeeper Marvin Phillip in the third minute. That was followed shortly by a nice dribble by Mendoza but a poor shot into the right netting.

Listless play ensued for the better part of 30 minutes with Joe Public unsuccessfully trying to splinter the Crew defense with long passes. The Eastern Lions’ best opportunity was a rising 40 yard strike by Marcus Joseph in the 25th minute that Gruenebaum stopped.

Scoring summary:

CLB – Leandre Griffit 1 47’

CLB – Jason Garey 1 (Emmanuel Ekpo) 51’

CLB – Steven Lenhart 1 (Dilly Duka) 79’

Misconduct summary:

CLB – Shaun Francis (caution: Reckless tackle) 6’

JOE PUBLIC – Carlyle Mitchell (caution: Reckless tackle) 31’

JOE PUBLIC – Kanez Williams (caution: Reckless tackle) 90’

COLUMBUS –Andy Gruenebaum; Duncan Oughton, Eric Brunner, Chad
Marshall (Andy Iro, 79’), Shaun Francis; Adam Moffat, Emmanuel Ekpo
(Dilly Duka, 61’), Leandre Griffit, Kevin Burns; Jason Garey, Andres
Mendoza (Steven Lenhart, 65’).

JOE PUBLIC – Marvin Phillip; Keion Goodridge, Nigel Daniel, Carlyle Mitchell (Kareem Moses, 85’), Makan Hislop (Kareem Moses, 79’); Hayden Tinto, Micah Lewis (Marvin Manswell, 74’), Yu Hoshide (Kanez Williams, 80’), Gason Gregory, Marcus Joseph; Kerry Baptiste.

Referee: Walter Lopez

Referee's Assistants: Ariel Mendez, Gerson Ottoneil Lopez

4th Official: Jair Marrufo

Weather: Partly cloudy, 75

Attendance: 5,445

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