The View from Our Crew

Andres is the Answer

COLUMBUS, OH - May 28, 2011 - Andres Mendoza made an impact Saturday night, scoring 2 goals in a 3-3 draw with Chivas USA. Mendoza, the Crew's lone Designated Player, was joined on the Columbus scoresheet by Emmanuel Ekpo, who finished with 1 goal and 1 assist.

Photo Credit: Gary L. Moody Sr.Chivas USA (3-4-4) was quick to strike, landing a goal from Nick LaBrocca in just the fourth minute. Simon Elliott set up the play with a cross to Justin Braun in the box, who looped it over to LaBrocca, who sped past Crew defender Rich Balchan for the score. The Goats would start with a 1-0 lead, but that goal was one of many on the night.

The Crew (3-3-5) looked to still be in good shape in the 14th as a streaking Tommy Heinemann beat Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy. A last second clearance by Chivas defender Ante Jazic saved a goal with just an inch to spare, the ball having traveled 3/4 of the way over the line.

Mendoza would put Columbus on the board just three minutes later, bringing things even at 1-1. Called one of the most overpaid players in MLS by Brian Straus of The Sporting News, Mendoza would deliver a much-needed goal, one that put momentum back in the hands of the home team.

That momentum proved to be short-lived as Andrew Boyens launched a beauty of a header in the 37th past William Hesmer, who was outstretched in mid-air and looked to be a fingertip length away from a save. Heath Pearce claimed the assist off the swift corner kick. For what seemed to be the first time this season, Crew defender Chad Marshall had been beaten in the air. The visitors would take their 2-1 advantage into the locker room after over 45 intense and physical minutes.

Both teams came out with some serious intensity after halftime. Jorge Flores would threaten the Crew keeper with a rocket moments in, which was followed shortly after with a sprinting Mendoza who went 1 v1 with Kennedy, but his shot was just off target. Mendoza would get loose again down the right side before a swift tackle by Boyens ended his run. Mendoza would get a third chance off a breakaway and this time he would slot it past Kennedy, who was left alone to deal with the Peruvian striker. Mendoza finished with a celebration for the ages in the 52nd.

This wonder goal would never have happened without the mistake of Elliott, whose turnover turned into a breakaway which ended as a goal for Columbus. The Crew brought things even at 2-2, but that score wouldn't last long.

The Goats simply would not rest on the attack and would strike again in the 57th minute. Jazic and former University of Akron midfielder Ben Zemanski set up the shot from Jorge Flores, who slotted one past the outstretched hands of Hesmer. A 3-2 advantage belonged to Chivas for the time being.

The Crew would answer with an unassisted goal from Ekpo in the 64th minute, adding to the flurry of goals. Kennedy showed his frustration, along with Hesmer, for a difficult night in goal. Mendoza would get loose again in the 67th minute, but was taken down hard in the box with a no call on the potential PK situation. The Nordecke went wild with chants I can't repeat, but you get the idea.

Several moments later Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven engaged in some beautiful passing down the flank, including a magical backheel by Rogers before Gaven was taken down with a harsh tackle from Flores. It was the second of the night for Flores and Chivas found themselves down to 10 men after the automatic red.

Michigan grad Justin Meram would make his MLS debut, taking over for Mendoza in the 76th minute. Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha hoped that the rookie would provide a spark against Chivas, already a man down. Meram didn't disappoint, creating some opportunities for the Columbus attack.

"It was a good one, a tied game. Go in and maybe get a snip at goal," the rookie striker and Shelby Township, MI native stated. "It's good to get out there and get some touches."

Lady Luck completely abandoned the Crew in the final moments before stoppage time. A shot by Jeff Cunningham went just wide right, a ball bounced off nearly every player in the box before being cleared by the Chivas D, nothing seemed to be working. A 10 man Chivas USA squad bent, bent a lot, but didn't break.

Saturday marked the return of Alejandro Moreno to Columbus, where he won the MLS Cup as a member of the Crew in 2008. Now the captain for Chivas USA, Moreno still has a soft spot for the city, the fans, and the organization.

"It's always emotional; it's always meaningful," the veteran Venezuelan striker declared in a postgame interview with ISNSoccer.com. "I have a good relationship here with the fans and a special feeling about this organization. We achieved a lot of important things here in Columbus."

The match ended with no change in the 3-3 result. The Crew hit the road to face the New York Red Bulls on June 4 before returning home for a weekday match against RSL on June 8. Meanwhile, Chivas USA has little time to prepare for a pair of home matches against Pacific Northwest rivals: June 1st against Vancouver and June 4th against Portland.

Samantha Burton with former University of Akron midfielder Ben Zemanski (video)

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Brunner Goal Sends Crew Home with a Loss

PORTLAND, OR - May 21, 2011 - Defender Eric Brunner scored against his former club and midfielder Jack Jewsbury logged an assist in his fourth straight game as the Portland Timbers defeated the Columbus Crew 1-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 18,627 at JELD-WEN Field on Saturday night.

Brunner, an Ohio native, played the last two seasons with the Crew before being selected by Portland in the 2010 MLS Expansion Draft last fall. He headed in the game-winning goal in the 46th minute on a play from a free kick to push the Timbers to their fifth victory in seven games and continue the club’s perfect record at home (5-0-0) in MLS play.

For a third straight match, it was a set piece that led to a goal by a defender which put the Timbers on the board. On a free kick in the opening minute of the second half, Jewsbury played the ball quickly down the right side of the penalty area to set up midfielder Kalif Alhassan for a cross in. Brunner was on the back post and nodded the ball back towards the right side past Crew goalkeeper Will Hesmer for the eventual game-winner.

With the win over the Crew, the Timbers become the first MLS expansion side to win its first five matches at home and the first expansion club since 1998 to have a five-game winning streak at home during its inaugural season.

Brunner tallied his third-career MLS goal, Jewsbury recorded an assist in his fourth straight game, Alhassan logged his fifth assist of the season and goalkeeper Troy Perkins recorded three saves to earn his third shutout on the campaign in the win for the Timbers (5-3-2, 17pts).

Forward Tom Heinemann attempted a team-high four shots, including two on goal, for the Crew (3-3-4, 13pts). After a seven-match unbeaten streak, Columbus has lost two straight matches.

Heinemann’s two shots on goal each came in the first half, with the first being blocked by strike partner Emilio Renteria. He had a diving header in the 41st minute, off a cross by Andres Mendoza, tipped wide by the fingertips of Perkins, keeping the match scoreless heading into halftime. Crew midfielder Robbie Rogers had a shot in the 87th minute from near the top of the box hit off the right post; Columbus held a slight edge in shots 11-10.

Crew Fall Hard on the Road

SANTA CLARA, CA - May 14, 2011 - The Crew suffered its second loss of the season by dropping a 3-0 decision to the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday night. Forwards Chris Wondolowski and Steven Lenhart as well as midfielder Khari Stephenson tallied one goal each within a span of 12 minutes.

After a physical scoreless first half that saw both teams record only two shots on target, San Jose came out swinging in the second stanza.

It only took five minutes for the home team to get on the board. Wondolowski snuck past Crew defender Rich Balchan after receiving a looping pass from Ryan Johnson and volleyed the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.

Former Crew forward Steven Lenhart would double up just nine minutes later when he headed a corner kick from Joey Gjertsen into the near post for his first goal of the season.

Then, in the 62nd minute, Stephenson sealed the Black & Gold’s fate by drilling a 25-yard rocket past William Hesmer.

The Crew continued to attack but, despite playing a man up for the last 10 minutes due to the ejection of defender Brandon McDonald, saw their numerous attempts thwarted by former Crew and current Quakes goalkeeper Jon Busch.

Renteria Strikes Again

COLUMBUS, OH - May 7, 2011 - More than 7,000 fans braved the Ohio weather’s downpour to see Columbus Crew (3-1-4) host Seattle Sounders (3-3-4) this Saturday. The match ended 1-1.

Seattle striker Fredy Montero flew in a header past the hands of Crew keeper Hesmer in the 7th minute to put the visitors up 1-0. The assist would go to Erik Friberg, who found Montero on the right side.

A penalty kick was awarded to the Black and Gold in the 67th minute when Chad Marshall and Patrick Ianni got tangled up inside the box. Emilio Renteria took it beautifully, tying up the match 1-1.

Columbus finished with a 16-7 advantage in shots (7-1 on goal). The Crew will now hit the road to face off against the San Jose Earthquakes on May 14.

Seattle Sounders Starting XI - Keller, Riley, Parke, Ianni, Gonzalez, Friberg, Alonso, Carrasco, Fernandez, Levesque, Montero

Columbus Crew Starting XI - Hesmer, Miranda, Marshall, James, Balchan, Duka, Burns, Rusmir, Rogers, Gaven, Renteria

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