COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC notched a 1-0 victory in Monday's international friendly against German Bundesliga-side Eintracht Frankfurt at MAPFRE Stadium in Columbus, thanks to an early goal from forward Ola Kamara.
Kamara finished perfectly in the 26th minute with a rocket over Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky. The attack was led by Crew SC midfielder Cristian Martinez. Martinez created a breakaway run for himself before finding Kamara with a rolling assist that left no doubt of an early Black & Gold lead.
Martinez’s assist came in his first Crew SC action of 2017. The assist was also the first of his career in Columbus. Martinez, hailing from El Chorrillo, Panama City, Panama, appeared in five matches for the Black & Gold last season, starting two and scoring one goal.
The goal was Kamara’s 10th this season in all-competitions. The Norwegian forward is no stranger to the style of German football like Eintracht Frankfurt’s. Kamara spent the second half of the 2012-13 season playing for 1860 Munich in Germany.
The statistics of the match were nearly identical. Both teams registered seven shots and four shots on goal. The difference may have been Crew SC’s advantage in saves by a margin of four to three.
That difference in saves came thanks to Crew SC goalkeeper Brad Stuver. In his second start this season in all contests, Stuver recorded the clean sheet with a multitude of different defenders in front of him. Stuver sacrificed his body in the 83rd minute to save a ball on a scramble that may have very well clinched the game for the Black & Gold.
The match was the last leg of Eintracht Frankfurt’s tour of the United States. The 2016-17 DFB Pokal finalists, currently in their preseason, played earlier this month against Seattle Sounders FC and the San Jose Earthquakes.
Due to the Major League Soccer-sanctioned 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup break, Crew SC has been out of competitive action since July 4. The wait for Crew SC supporters will end on July 22 at MAPFRE Stadium when Columbus takes on the Philadelphia Union in league play.
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Referee: Guido Gonzalez Jr.
Assistants: Cory Richardson, Art Arustamyan
Fourth Official: Brandon Artis
26’ – CLB – Ola Kamara (Cristian Martinez)
CLB – Mohammed Abu (Caution) 18’
CLB – Cristian Martinez (Caution) 39’
SGE – Gelson Fernandes (Caution) 65’
SGE – Luka Jovic (Caution) 74’
Columbus Crew SC: Brad Stuver; Jonathan Mensah (Nicolai Naess 46’), Alex Crognale, Lalas Abubakar (Josh Williams 46’); Hector Jimenez (Waylon Francis 46’), Mohammed Abu (Abuchi Obinwa 67’), Wil Trapp © (Artur 46’), Jukka Raitala (Connor Maloney 46’); Cristian Martinez, Kekuta Manneh (Ethan Finlay 46’); Ola Kamara (Adam Jahn 46’)
Substitutes not used: Zack Steffen, Logan Ketterer
Eintracht Frankfurt: Lukas Hradecky; David Abraham ©, Timothy Chandler (Noel Knothe 75’), Danny Da Costa, Taleb Tawatha; Jonathan De Guzman (Marco Russ 75’), Gelson Fernandes, Slobodan Medojevic, (Max Besuschkow 75’) , Daichi Kamada (Branimir Hrgota 67’); Danny Blum (Luka Jovic 67’), Sebastien Haller
Substitutes not used: Leon Batge, Anderson Ordonez, Nelson Mandela Mbhouhom, Renat Dadashov
Success against Germany
Despite 15 years passing since Crew SC played a top German opponent from the Bundesliga like Eintracht Frankfurt, the Black & Gold are now 4-0-0 all-time against teams of their kind including the likes of Hamburger SV, Bayer Leverkusen and 1. FC Nurnberg.
The victory improved Crew SC’s all-time tally in friendlies to 12-6-3.
Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter made seven substitutions at half time of the International Friendly. The game plan also included rest for Crew SC difference-makers like midfielders Justin Meram, Federico Higuain, Niko Hansen and goalkeeper Zack Steffen. The only Black & Gold members to play all 90 minutes were Stuver, Martinez and defender Alex Crognale.
Crew SC will play a home and home against the Philadelphia Union with the first leg taking place at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Black & Gold will then travel to Philadelphia for a match on Wednesday, July 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Columbus returns home on Saturday, August 12 to face the Chicago Fire in what will be a 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff.