BRADENTON, FLA. – Jairo Arrieta’s 50th-minute goal was enough for the Black & Gold to secure a 1-0 win over Swedish Champion Malmö FF on Wednesday afternoon in a preseason friendly at the IMG Academy Stadium in Bradenton, Fla. The match was the Black & Gold’s first action of the 2014 season and Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter used 22 different players in his inaugural match as Crew boss in an exhibition that saw 45-minute efforts for each player.
Malmö’s Markus Rosenberg had the first chance of the match in the ninth minute when his shot sailed wide of the post. Crew first-half goalkeeper Matt Lampson would make his only save of the half in the 22nd minute on a free kick from Magnus Eriksson which Lampson pushed out of bounds on the effort. On the ensuing corner kick, it was Lampson again who charged out to catch the incoming cross to extinguish the pressure. Moments later, in the 32nd minute, Malmö’s Markus Rosenberg had a golden opportunity to potentially give the Swedish side the lead when a ball was deflected right to him, but he was unable to secure it in time.
Following the start of the second half that saw the Black & Gold trot out 11 new players, it was another deflection in the box that ultimately changed the match. This time, the ball fell for the Crew’s Jairo Arrieta and the Costa Rican was able to poke the ball past second-half goalkeeper Zlatan Azinovic for a 1-0 Crew lead.
Crew newcomer – and second-half goalkeeper – Steve Clark made four critical saves in his 45 minutes of play to preserve the shutout victory following the Arrieta goal. He made a 60th-minute stop on Malmö's Emil Forsberg who settled a long ball and fired from the left side of the box on Clark. Less than a minute later, Clark made another save against Malmö's Guillermo Molins from much closer in. After making a save in the 73rd minute, it was Clark’s 82nd-minute leaping save to deny Pawel Cibicki that sealed the victory for the Crew.
The Black & Gold return to Columbus on Friday and train for one week in Central Ohio before departing for Orlando for the Disney Pro Soccer Classic (February 19 – March 1).
Columbus Crew 1 – Malmö FF 0
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Venue: IMG Academy Stadium (Bradenton, Florida)
Weather: 72 degrees and fog
CLB – Jairo Arrieta (unassisted) 50’
CLB – Kingsley “Fifi” Baiden (caution) 21’
CLB – Bernardo Anor (caution) 27’
CLB – Josh Williams (caution) 76’
MAL – Guillermo Molins (caution) 90’
Columbus Crew: Matt Lampson; Chad Barson, Patrick Slogic*, Michael Parkhurst, Ben Sweat*; Hector Jimenez, Wil Trapp, Kingsley “Fifi” Baiden*, Federico Higuain ©, Bernardo Anor; Ryan Finley.
Columbus Crew: Steve Clark; Ross Friedman, Eric Gehrig, Josh Williams, Tyson Wahl; Dominic Oduro ©, Kevan George, Agustin Viana, Ben Speas, Justin Meram; Jairo Arrieta
*Indicates non-rostered player
Malmö FF: Robin Olsen (Zlatan Azinovic 46’); Miiko Albomoz, Pontus Jansson (Filip Helander 46’), Erik Johansson (Johan Hammar 64’), Ricardinho; Guillermo Molins ©, Markus Halsti, Simon Them, Emil Forsberg (Erdal Rakip 71’); Magnus Eriksson (Pawel Cibicki 71’), Markus Rosenberg (Benjamin Fadi 85’).
Substitutes not used: Matias Concha, Simon Kroon, Malmut Ozen, Zlatan Azinovic, Pa Konate, Sixten Mohlin, Petar Petrovic