COLUMBUS – Two stoppage time goals yielded Columbus Crew SC a 2-0, midweek victory over the LA Galaxy at MAPFRE Stadium on Wednesday. Goals near halftime and the end of the match by Ola Kamara and Justin Meram, respectively, dispatched the visiting Galaxy and secured three points for the home crowd.
Kamara, Crew SC’s scoring leader on the season, hit pay dirt in the 45th minute. The forward received an assist from midfielder Pedro Santos, the Black & Gold’s newest Designated Player and blockbuster signing. Santos cut left off the right wing and sent the ball into the middle of the box before Kamara chipped it home over Jon Kempin, the Galaxy’s goalkeeper.
The goal was the 13th of the season for Kamara. The assist was the first of Santos’ young career in Major League Soccer with Crew SC. It came in his first career start and his first action in front of the Black & Gold faithful at MAPFRE Stadium.
Meram scored an insurance goal in the 90th minute off an assist from midfielder Kekuta Manneh to put the Black & Gold up 2-0. Crew SC midfielder Mohammed Abu sent a ball toward to the attacking end that was one-touched masterfully by Manneh and rocketed into the back of the net by Meram.
The goal was Meram’s 11th on the year and his eighth during home matches this season.
Los Angeles played with 10 men for the lion’s share of the match. The 17th minute saw Santos pull down a long ball on the attacking end before being taken down from the right side by a slide tackle from Galaxy defender Ashley Cole. Cole was assessed a red card on the play by referee Sorin Stoica that stood after the newly-minted Major League Soccer Video Review.
Video Review came into play two more times during the first half. Shortly after the Cole red card, Santos was fouled once again near the box. Review later showed that the foul occurred inside the box. Crew SC was awarded a penalty kick that was stopped by Kempin. Following that review, a Los Angeles goal in the 26th minute was disallowed after Video Review revealed an Galaxy player to be off side before the goal.
The midweek match saw the long-awaited return of Crew SC veteran midfielder Federico Higuain. For the first time since July 1, Higuain donned the Black & Gold after nursing a right knee sprain. The Argentinian played 63 minutes before being substituted for, recording five key passes and 27 successful passes on the Galaxy half.
Columbus (12-12-3, 39 points) raised their record to the .500 mark and jumped into fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings ahead of the weekend matches while Los Angeles 6-13-5, 23 points) remained in ninth place out west.
Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen and the Crew SC defense completed their seventh clean sheet of the 2017 campaign on Wednesday evening. The Black & Gold successfully navigated the match without allowing a shot on goal.
The offensive stat columns showed in favor of Columbus following the match. Crew SC outshot the Galaxy by a margin of 18-5 while also out passing (243-146) and out possessing (62.3 percent to 37.7 percent) Los Angeles.
Columbus Crew SC will remain home at MAPFRE Stadium as they will meet FC Dallas on Saturday, August 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET on short rest. The Black & Gold will then have some much-needed down time before meeting Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, September 10 at 1 p.m. ET in Columbus.
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Referee: Sorin Stoica
Assistants: Ian Anderson, Craig Lowry
Fourth Official: Marcos DeOliveira
Video Assistant Referee: Hilario Grajeda
45’ – CLB – Ola Kamara (Pedro Santos)
90’ – CLB – Justin Meram (Kekuta Manneh, Mohammed Abu)
LA – Ashley Cole (Ejection) 17’
LA – Jonathan dos Santos (Caution) 35’
CLB – Wil Trapp (Caution) 56’
CLB – Pedro Santos (Caution) 59’
CLB – Cristian Martinez (Caution) 81’
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Waylon Francis (Jukka Raitala 33’), Josh Williams, Jonathan Mensah, Hector Jimenez; Mohammed Abu, Wil Trapp ©; Justin Meram, Federico Higuain (Cristian Martinez 63’), Pedro Santos (Kekuta Manneh 69’); Ola Kamara
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Nicolai Naess, Lalas Abubakar, Adam Jahn
LA Galaxy: Jon Kempin; Pele van Anholt (Bradley Diallo 80’), Daniel Steres, Dave Romney, Ashley Cole ©; Rafael Garcia, Joao Pedro, Bradford Jamieson IV (Jose Villarreal 73’), Jonathan dos Santos, Emmanuel Boateng (Romain Alessandrini 67’); Gyasi Zardes
Substitutes not used: Clement Diop, Nathan Smith, Ariel Lassiter, Jack McInerney
One night only
Wednesday marked the first and last meeting of 2017 between the cross-conference rivals. The Black & Gold currently hold a 17-15-10 overall record against the Galaxy. Crew SC has also scored a total of 58 goals against LA all-time.
The Galaxy entered the match without two of their Designated Players, forward Giovani Dos Santos and midfielder Jermaine Jones, due to injury. The match was also their first without former captain, Jelle Van Damme, who was transferred to Royal Antwerp FC last Friday.
Crew SC defender Waylon Francis sustained a left thigh injury during the match and was substituted off in favor of fellow-defender Jukka Raitala. Francis entered the match against Los Angeles having recorded an assist in two straight matches.