San Jose has made a knack of scoring late, and they did it again on Saturday night as second-half substitute Alan Gordon beat the seemingly unbeatable Andy Gruenebaum in the 90th minute to for a 1-1 draw at Buck Shaw Stadium.
In scoring his third goal of the season, Gordon brought the Earthquakes total goals to 23, six of which have come in the final 15 minutes of a match. Gruenebaum had a career night, stopping a personal best seven, but could not get behind the Long Beach, Calif., native’s shot.
San Jose was relatively quiet in the second half after dominating the chances in the first half. It wasn’t until the final 10 minutes when they put pressure on the Crew goal.
University of Michigan product Justin Meram seemed to put a damper on San Jose’s efforts in the waning moments of stoppage time in the first half. Making his first start of the season — and third consecutive appearance overall — Meram tallied his second goal in as many matches. The second-year pro put Columbus up 1-0, beating veteran San Jose 'keeper Jon Busch with a superb finish, finding the far side netting from just outside the left corner of the box.
Prior to Meram’s goal, the first 45 minutes were controlled by the home side. In the 21st minute, the Earthquakes strung a number of passes together, leading to Steven Lenhart getting in the box before Eric Gehrig took him down for a penalty. Gruenebaum made his first remarkable save of the night when he stopped MLS leading scorer Chris Wondolowski’s penalty with an outstretched leg.
All told, Gruenebaum made three stops from point-blank range in the first half, including denying Simon Dawkins twice — once in the 23rd off a corner and again in the run-of-play in the 26th. Both of Dawkins’ chances came from inside the penalty stripe.
Columbus, now 3-4-3, jumped to seventh in the Eastern Conference standings with 12 points. The Crew heads to Seattle to face the Sounders on Wednesday.
San Jose (7-2-3), meanwhile, remains in second in the Western Conference with 24 points. The Earthquakes will look to rebound against the LA Galaxy in the California Clasico on Wednesday.
MLSsoccer.com's Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Andy Gruenebaum||Crew 'keeper stoned Wondolowski on a PK and made a handful of impressive saves before Alan Gordon finally put one past him.|
|2||Alan Gordon||Big striker comes through again for San Jose, scoring late to help his team snatch a point and avoid being stunned by the Crew.|
|3||Justin Meram||Second-year striker scored a beautiful goal that was just minutes away from giving Columbus their second straight victory.|