COLUMBUS – The Black & Gold put an exclamation point on their recent run going into Major League Soccer’s September international break on Saturday against FC Dallas. Columbus notched a 2-1 victory over the defending Supporter’s Shield holders to add to their playoff push thanks to goals by forward Ola Kamara and defender Jonathan Mensah.
A duo of Crew SC players had a hand in Kamara’s 50th minute goal. Midfielder Federico Higuain facilitated and sent the ball toward the right wing. The pass was received by fellow midfielder Hector Jimenez and one-touched into the box, where Kamara finished the job and put the ball in the back of the net to create the 1-0 Columbus lead.
For the second match in a row, Crew SC scored an insurance goal to put their lead out of reach late in the game. The goal, which would later prove to be the crucial winner for the Black & Gold, came from an unlikely source. Mensah, a central defender, headed home a long free kick cross by Higuain in the 71st minute to bring the Columbus lead to 2-0.
The goal was the first of Mensah’s MLS career. The Ghanaian International and Designated Player also made a crucial goal line clearance in the 39th minute to prevent a Dallas goal after goalkeeper Zack Steffen was pulled off his line.
FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman trimmed the Crew SC lead to one in the 78th minute on a header. The score came on a corner kick by midfielder Javier Morales, who was credited with an assist on the play.
Two Crew SC attackers hit milestones thanks to the goals that occurred in the contest. Kamara’s team-leading 14th score was also the 30th of his career with the Black & Gold. He is now tied with former midfielder Ethan Finlay for 10th all-time in club history.
Higuain’s two assists pushed him above Guillermo Barros Schelotto for sole possession of fourth all-time in the assists category with 42. The veteran midfielder returned to assisting form in the match, only his second since returning from a month and a half long injury.
Columbus (13-12-3, 42 points) pushed their record above the .500 mark and jumped over the Chicago Fire and into third place in the Eastern Conference standings with the victory while Dallas (9-7-9, 36 points) ended the match in sixth place out west, right above the playoff line.
Crew SC out-passed FC Dallas, both in terms of total passes (557-395) and passing percentage (82 percent to 79 percent). The Black & Gold also came out ahead in the battle for possession with a majority 57.1 percent margin.
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Referee: Allen Chapman
Assistants: Jeremy Hanson, Matthew Nelson
Fourth Official: Ted Unkel
Video Assistant Referee: Kevin Terry Jr.
50’ – CLB – Ola Kamara (Hector Jimenez, Federico Higuain)
71’ – CLB – Jonathan Mensah (Federico Higuain)
78 – DAL – Walker Zimmerman (Javier Morales)
DAL – Tesho Akindele (Caution) 69’
DAL – Matt Hedges (Caution) 90’+3’
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Jukka Raitala, Josh Williams, Jonathan Mensah, Hector Jimenez (Harrison Afful 77’); Mohammed Abu, Wil Trapp ©; Justin Meram, Federico Higuain (Lalas Abubakar 88’), Pedro Santos (Cristian Martinez 60’); Ola Kamara
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Nicolai Naess, Kekuta Manneh, Adam Jahn
FC Dallas: Jesse Gonzalez; Atiba Harris, Matt Hedges, Walker Zimmerman, Hernan Grana; Roland Lamah (Javier Morales 72’); Carlos Gruezo, Kellyn Acosta (Cristian Colman 87’), Tesho Akindele, Michael Barrios (Luis Gonzalez 83’); Maximiliano Urruti
Substitutes not used: Chris Seitz, Reggie Cannon, Ryan Hollingshead, Victor Ulloa
The Black & Gold have won six of their last seven regular-season home games, with the last four wins coming consecutively while also owning a 15-5 scoring tally in that time.
Halfway to 100
The victory over FC Dallas was the landmark 50th of Crew SC Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter’s career in the MLS regular season.
The match on Saturday in Columbus was the 46th regular-season meeting all-time between Crew SC and FC Dallas. The Black & Gold hold an 19-17-10 overall record in cross-conference pairings with Dallas, a fellow 1996 MLS original club.
The Black & Gold will have some down time before meeting Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, September 10 at 1 p.m. ET in Columbus.