The way Columbus failed to connect on restarts Saturday – or connect at all – may have left Crew fans longing for the days of Guillermo Barros Schelotto. But the Crew did something Saturday they never did with their former star on the field: Walk of out of the Home Depot Center without losing to Chivas USA.
The team's scoreless draw ended a five-game road losing streak to the Goats since 2006 while also matching a Crew record with a third straight shutout.
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William Hesmer extended his scoreless minutes to 283 – 90 shy of the club mark – with two saves for the Crew (1-1-2). He was rarely tested but was kept busy throughout the match, snagging crosses as the defense pushed Chivas USA (0-2-2) to the outside for most of the match.
“We’re doing the right things defensively,” Hesmer said. “We’re compact, organized. We’re communicating and we’re winning most of our one-on-one battles. We’re really fighting for each other. We’re getting it done defensively and we’ve got to keep trying to gain some traction at the offensive end, and hopefully the results will start going our way.”
The Crew posted their second scoreless draw in three games and have just one goal from the run of play this season.
“I’m happy about the shutout, but I want the goals and a win,” coach Robert Warzycha said. “We had some chances in the second and we should have scored a couple of goals. I know the last few years we haven’t been successful here, so the point is important.”
Hesmer needed to come up big just once in the 79th minute, grabbing a volley from Nick LaBrocca.
“That was a counter off our corner kick,” Hesmer said. “It’s really hard to have possession off a corner. That was really their only chance of the second half.”
A combined 39 fouls took the luster off the match and hindered both team's chances at a wealth of scoring chances.
“It was physical,” defender Julius James said. “We can roll with the punches, absolutely. We had to match the intensity tonight and we did. I’m pleased with the way we played defensively. We had chances but didn’t score. The most important thing is we had the chances and we created a lot.”
The Crew were hoping to build off a 2-0 victory against FC Dallas on April 1 but showed little of the possession game through the midfield.
“In the first half we all were a little bit off up until the last five minutes,” Warzycha said. “We switched the point of attack. We put some crosses in. In the second half we played better.”
The Crew’s best opportunity came in the 74th minute, when Eddie Gaven sprinted 40 yards down the middle then unleashed a low strike from 18 yards that goalkeeper Dan Kennedy pushed away with his fingertips.
Gaven almost helped put the Crew ahead in the 92nd minute when he sprung Robbie Rogers for a breakaway, but the play was ruled offside, the last of their seven for the game.
“It’s always nice to get shutouts in this league, and we’ve done it against some dangerous attacking teams,” defender Chad Marshall said. “We’ll take the point on the road, and get back to work this week.”