A first-half miscommunication from Columbus Crew SC (5-12-2, 17 pts.) marked the difference as Real Salt Lake (8-8-2, 26 pts.) topped the Black & Gold 1-0 on Wednesday, July 3 at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Crew SC posted solid opportunities early in the match, including a fast break from JJ Williams in the 13th minute off a lofted ball from defender Aboubacar Keita. Williams was tripped up by Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando but was ruled a no-call after Video Review. Notably, Keita, a 19-year-old Homegrown Player, made his first MLS start on Wednesday.
In the 32nd minute, Crognale came up big defensively when he blocked a shot from Damir Kreilach at the goal line to keep the match level.
As for the opposition, RSL tallied the game-winner in the 38th minute when Sam Johnson took advantage of a miscommunication between Crew SC's two centerbacks and placed the ball inside the right post on a breakaway.
Still, Crew SC remained within striking distance for the rest of the match, with goalkeeper Joe Bendik keeping the deficit at one after tipping a shot from Albert Rusnak over the crossbar in the 51st minute.
On the day, the Crew were outshot 14-7 while RSL maintained a majority of possession at 56 percent.
Up next, Crew SC return home to take on the Seattle Sounders on Saturday, July 6 at MAPFRE Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Supporters can watch the match on FOX Sports Ohio, stream on FOX Sports GO, or listen on 97.1 FM The Fan or www.ColumbusCrewSC.com (English & Spanish).
Goal Scoring Rundown:
RSL - Sam Johnson, 38th minute: Johnson places the ball to the right post on a fast break. CLB 0, RSL 1 | FINAL
Columbus Crew SC
Defender Aboubacar Keita made his first regular-season start – as well as his first regular-season appearance – for Crew SC during tonight’s road contest against Real Salt Lake. Keita played the entire 90 minutes, making one tackle, six clearances and winning five duels. A Crew SC Academy product, Keita was signed to the First Team as a Homegrown Player on January 22, 2019.
With his start in tonight’s contest Aboubacar Keita became the third-youngest player (19 years, 88 days) to make a regular-season start for the Black & Gold, behind only Tim Ward (19 years, 60 days) and Danny Szetela (17 years, 117 days). Additionally, he also became the fifth-youngest player to make a regular-season appearance for the Club, behind only Tim Ward (19 years, 60 days), Aaron Horton (19 years, 20 days), Ben Swanson (18 years, 319 days) and Danny Szetela (17 years, 61 days).
During tonight’s road contest against Real Salt Lake, Crew SC’s starting XI featured five players under the age of 25: Alex Crognale (24), Niko Hansen (24), Eduardo Sosa (23), JJ Williams (21) and Aboubacar Keita (19). Additionally, Luis Argudo (23) and Artur (23) both made substitute appearances in tonight’s contest, bringing the total of Crew SC players under the age of 25 to feature in tonight’s match to seven.
Next up, Crew SC hosts Seattle Sounders FC at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, July 6 [7:30 p.m. ET / Fox Sports Ohio, FOX Sports GO (Stream) / 97.1 The Fan & 971TheFan.com (English); ColumbusCrewSC.com (Spanish)].