Emilio Rentería scored nine minutes apart in the second half to lead the Crew to a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at Crew Stadium despite the first career goal by Vancouver’s 17-year-old Omar Salgado, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 MLS SuperDraft.
Rentería, who scored his first of the season in the Crew’s last match at Toronto FC, drew a penalty and converted it in the 50th minute then took a deft through ball from Dejan Rusmir to again beat Vancouver goalkeeper Jay Nolly.
It was an important insurance goal because Salgado, in his first start after playing 19 minutes in three prior games, scored on a header from a cross by Terry Dunfield in the 69th minute.
Salgado nearly got an equalizer eight minutes later but Crew goalkeeper William Hesmer made an excellent save off the close-range strike.
That was the second of three late close calls for the Crew. Moments earlier Crew left back Josh Gardner made a goal line block of Nizar Khalfan’s shot.
The Crew (3-1-3) ran their unbeaten streak to 3-0-3 while Vancouver (1-4-3) is winless since winning their opener.
Columbus dominated possession against a Whitecaps squad that showed solid defensive organization in the first half before the breakdown that led to the Crew’s first score after the break. Gardner tried to get the ball to Robbie Rogers in the left corner but Whitecaps right back Jonathan Leathers intercepted the pass only to see the ball carom toward the goal.
Rentería was first to pounce on the loose ball and Nolly was forced to take a swipe at his ankles. The Venezuelan international then scored the Crew’s third goal from the spot by shooting to the left side.
Just minutes later Rentería made it 2-0 when Rusmir took a pass from Dilly Duka, spun then split two defenders for his first MLS assist. Rusmir’s pass found Rentería in stride and the forward got inside of his defender to finish with a first-time left-footed shot.
After the 6-foot-4 Salgado reduced the deficit in the 69th minute on a header between two Crew defenders, the Whitecaps found new life and nearly equalized on three clear-cut opportunities.
First, Khalfan met an Alain Rochat cross at the far right post but the Crew’s Gardner blocked his shot from just feet away. Minutes later, Salgado pounced on a feed from Davide Chiumiento and beat Hesmer to the ball but the goalkeeper recovered to block the shot by the MLS rookie. Substitute Jeb Brovsky had the final salvo from the visitors with a long-range shot that narrowly missed the right post.
The Whitecaps were playing without two first-choice forwards as designated player Eric Hassli sat out due to suspension and Atiba Harris was missing after knee surgery.
Vancouver return home to host the Montreal Impact on Wednesday, May 4 in the Nutrilite Canadian Championship followed by an MLS regular season match on Saturday, May 7 in Chicago. Columbus will prepare to host the Seattle Sounders next Saturday.
CLB -- Emilio Renteria 2 (penalty kick) 50
CLB -- Emilio Renteria 3 (Dejan Rusmir 1, Dilly Duka 2) 59
VAN -- Omar Salgado 1 (Terry Dunfield 2, Alain Rochat 1) 69
Vancouver Whitecaps -- Jay Nolly, Jonathan Leathers, Mouloud Akloul, Greg Janicki, Alain Rochat, Wes Knight (Shea Salinas 66), Terry Dunfield (Jeb Brovsky 74), Gershon Koffie, Davide Chiumiento, Camilo (Nizar Khalfan 56), Omar Salgado.
Substitutes Not Used: Michael Boxall, Russell Teibert, Blake Wagner, Joe Cannon.
Columbus Crew -- William Hesmer, Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall, Julius James, Josh Gardner, Kevin Burns (Emmanuel Ekpo 67), Dejan Rusmir, Dilly Duka (Leandre Griffit 88), Robbie Rogers, Eddie Gaven, Emilio Renteria (Jeff Cunningham 78).
Substitutes Not Used: Andy Iro, Andres Mendoza, Korey Veeder, Andy Gruenebaum.
VAN -- Jonathan Leathers (caution; Reckless Foul) 37
VAN -- Greg Janicki (caution; Tactical Foul) 57
VAN -- Omar Salgado (caution; Reckless Tackle) 91+
Referee: Terry Vaughn
Referee's Assistants: Adam Wienckowski, Jason Cullum
Fourth Official: Ismail Elfath
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 65 degrees