Columbus Crew SC had a strong performance on the road in its 0-0 draw with Toronto FC, leaving Canada with a point. The Black & Gold sealed their third shutout of the season by creating chances and shining defensively.
Rookie Rodrigo Saravia played his first minutes at centerback for Columbus after teammate Gaston Sauro checked out of the match with an injury. The Guatemalan had a convincing 55 minutes against Toronto, contributing to a defensive performance that held the League’s leading goal-scorer Sebastian Giovinco to only two shots on goal; none of which finding the back of the net.
“Everyone did great everyone stepped on him, pressed on him and he had two shots but he didn’t get the ball too many times so it was a good performance for us,” he said.
Team captain Michael Parkhurst credited the dominant defensive performance by the Black & Gold as a solid team effort from top to bottom, including Saravia’s ability to step up and hold off Giovinco.
“I thought he did a great job. It’s a tough task to come into a game as a centerback and even tougher when you’re playing on the road against probably the best striker in the League,” he said. “So I thought he did really well; I thought he was composed, strong in the tackle and a very good performance from him.”
Columbus was able to come together and collectively hold Toronto to a scoreless game at its home turf.
“We had Ola [Kamara], Justin [Meram] and Cedrick [Mabwati] and Ethan [Finlay] really tracking it back and making it a little easier for us in the back so we really put a lot of effort in it defensively and that’s why we got the zero,” said Parkhurst.
Despite a scoreless match, Crew SC had its fair share of scoring chances and led the game with 15 shots total. Five of those opportunities were on frame, with the closest coming from a Meram chip off the post and Federico Higuaín’s rebound saved off the goal line in the 51st minute.
“I thought we were a little bit unlucky, especially with Justin’s effort off of the post and then Pipa’s rebound getting cleared off,” said Parkhurst. “Ola had some good movement in the first half; he had a good headers saved off of the line. A little bit of luck here and there would have done us well. As long as we keep creating chances like that and as long as defensively we put in that effort we’ll be okay going forward.”
The Black & Gold will look to maintain its strong defensive play and ability to create chances in order to get three points this week as they host Real Salt Lake on Saturday night at MAPFRE Stadium at 7:30.