After an hour and 55-minute weather delay at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in the 26th minute, Columbus Crew SC advanced in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
The Black & Gold move on to the Round of 16 in the competition for the fourth straight year by controlling over 58 percent of the possession, firing 10 shots, and completing 87 percent of their passes. Goalkeeper Brad Stuver also registered his second straight clean sheet in the victory.
Tampa Bay came out aggressive early in the first half, creating multiple opportunities. The Rowdies best chance to take the lead came in the 24th minute, when Eric Avila fired a shot, but saw it be scooped up by Stuver. Two minutes later, the lengthy weather delay began.
After the break, it was all Crew SC. In the 41st minute, midfielder Emil Larsen centered a ball to Justin Meram inside the Tampa Bay penalty area. And after a serious of deflections, the ball fell to the midfielder’s feet, and Meram knocked it into the back of the net to give the Black & Gold the 1-0 lead into halftime.
As the second 45 began, it didn’t take long for Crew SC to pick up where it left off. In the 48th minute, defender Waylon Francis curled a ball into the Rowdies penalty area to a streaking Ethan Finlay. The midfielder immediately centered the ball with a one-time backheel, and midfielder Cristian Martinez powered home his second goal in as many matches to put his side up 2-0.
Just four minutes later, Finlay added a goal to his own tally. After Rodrigo Saravia was taken down in the Tampa Bay box, the referee awarded the Black & Gold with a penalty kick. Finlay stepped up, and fired his shot past Rowdies’ goalkeeper Matt Pickens to add to the Crew SC lead.
In the 65th minute, after a series of excellent team play, defender Hector Jimenez put a through ball past the Tampa Bay backline in the path of a cutting Marshall Hollingsworth. Hollingsworth first-timed his shot from the right side, and recorded his first goal for the Black & Gold with a clinical finish to the bottom left corner. As the final whistle sounded on the campus of The Ohio State University, Crew SC moved on to the USOC Round of 16 with the 4-0 win.
The Black & Gold have a quick turnaround, as they will take on the Montreal Impact this Saturday in Columbus. Kickoff from MAPFRE Stadium is set for 7:30 p.m. TICKETS