COMMERCE CITY, Colorado – Columbus Crew SC went into Colorado to face the Rapids on Saturday off short rest and suffered a close, 2-1, loss despite a Federico Higuain goal and a career first-half for goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
The scoreless first half held multiple near-chances for both squads. Crew SC recorded six shots on the attacking end and Steffen recorded five saves on the defensive end — tying his career high in just one half.
The 61st minute of the match saw Higuain receive a pass from Justin Meram before making a turn and firing a ball that would be redirected by the body of Rapids midfielder Micheal Azira before finding the back of the net. The goal was Higuain’s sixth of the season and gave him sole possession of third all-time in career goals for Crew SC, breaking a tie with Columbus great Stern John.
The assist was the sixth of the season for Meram.
Colorado got their attack going late in the match, starting in the 80th minute with a Mohammed Saeid ball that found a running Marlon Hairston who crossed to Kevin Doyle for a tap-in that leveled the score at one.
Just six minutes later, Colorado went ahead after a long cross from Joshua Gatt found a fresh Alan Gordon on a header for an 86th minute goal that would be the last in the match.
The match was the third in a span of nine days for Columbus (7-8-1, 22 points) as Colorado (4-8-1, 13 points) had a full week of rest at their disposal.
Despite the late loss, Crew SC won the possession battle in the match by a margin of 62.1 to 37.9 and out passed Colorado 517-316.
The Black & Gold also won more tackles, duels and outshot the Rapids by 10-8, 49-42, and 15-11 differences, respectively.
Crew SC next faces a June 17 match in Atlanta against MLS-expansion side Atlanta United comes next with a 7 p.m. ET kickoff in regular-season action. Crew SC next plays the Montreal Impact at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, June 24 with a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff. Enjoy half-off select beers (for supporters ages 21-and-over), Pepsi products, brats and pretzels through the 15th minute.*
*concession items subject to change
The Black & Gold welcome German Bundesliga-side and DFB Pokal-finalist Eintracht Frankfurt to MAPFRE Stadium for an international friendly on Monday, July 17. The match is set to kick off at 7:30 p.m.
61’ – CLB – Federico Higuain (Justin Meram)
80’ – COL – Kevin Doyle (Marlon Hairston, Mohammed Saeid)
86’ – COL – Alan Gordon (Joshua Gatt)
Crew SC defender Harrison Afful made his 50th career appearance for Crew SC in the match on Saturday. Afful recorded 38 successful passes on the opposition’s half, won two tackles and made two interceptions in the contest.
Crew SC does not have another match scheduled for the next 11 days. On June 14, the Black & Gold will travel to Cincinnati for a matchup against FC Cincinnati in the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Despite being members of separate Major League Soccer conferences, Crew SC and Colorado have a bit of a storied history. Saturday marked the 41st all-time pairing between the two original MLS clubs. Columbus owns a 12-18-10 record in the series.