Late Goal Keeps Crew in Playoff Hunt
COLUMBUS, OH - September 29, 2012 - The Crew always find a way to make things dramatic. After Milovan Mirosevic’s 87th minute goal the Columbus Crew have scored the winning goal in their last 5 victories in the 86th minute or later.
The 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Union aided the Crew in keeping pace with the Houston Dynamo in the race for the final playoff spot. Currently trailing the Dynamo by one point after both squads won tonight, Columbus needs some help if it is going to make the playoffs this year.
Needing to get the points tonight, it was clear from the start that Columbus was on a mission to win the match. Attacking early and often, Jairo Arrieta and company kept Philadelphia on their back heel for a majority of the half.
Arrieta finally found the back of the net in the 44th minute off a beautiful assist from Sebastian Miranda that Arrieta controlled and slipped in past the keeper on the near post.
Just a couple of minutes later, with just about the last kick of stoppage time, Arrieta struck again, this time on an assist from keeper Andy Gruenebaum.
Columbus went into the break leading 2-0, but as the second half started it was clear that Philadelphia wasn’t going to let this match go so easily.
In the 65th minute substitute Antoine Hoppenot charged down the center of the Crew defense, but was tripped up by Andy Gruenebaum and awarded a penalty kick. Danny Cruz stepped up for the Union and scored their first goal.
Completing the comeback in the 86th minute, the Union scored when a deflected pass found Jack McInerney, who one touched the ball past Gruenebaum to knot things up at 2-2.
Just minutes later as the Crew desperately pushed for a winner a Josh Williams pass fell to Milovan Mirosevic, who had slipped behind a group of defenders. The Chilean’s shot rocketed into the top of the goal, giving Columbus an emphatic 3-2 victory in the 87th minute.
Next the Crew host the top team in the East, Sporting Kansas City, and then travel to the nation's capital to take on D.C. United. The final match of the season for Columbus will come on October 28th against Toronto FC at home.
Subside Sports Man of the Match: Jairo Arrieta, Columbus Crew
Crew Suffer Setback in Chicago
BRIDGEVIEW, IL - September 22, 2012 - Despite outshooting Chicago 20 to 11, the Columbus Crew succumbed to the Fire 2-1 at Toyota Park on Saturday night. Kettering, Ohio native Chris Rolfe scored a brace in response to an early, unassisted, goal by Jairo Arrieta.
Chicago applied pressure early on, forcing the Crew’s defense to work extra hard to avoid giving the home team an early advantage. In the 2nd minute Crew captain Chad Marshall easily headed a Jalil Anibaba cross into corner. A minute later Fire midfielder Alex grazed the crossbar after picking up the corner kick rebound.
The first clear chance for the Crew came in the sixth minute when Eddie Gaven took a shot from outside the box forcing Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson to make a diving clearance. Johnson was called into action again four minutes later when he deflected a left-footed shot by Milovan Mirosevic.
Chicago responded in the 11th when Sherjill Macdonald sent a cross into the box looking for Rolfe, but the ball took a weird bounce and trickled out of bounds for a goal kick.
In the 15th, Fire defender Austin Berry played a ball to Johnson who intended to send it back to Berry. The Fire ‘keeper mishit the ball and Arrieta took advantage of the effort and easily dribbled around Johnson to slot the ball into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
"We pressured the goalkeeper, and he took a bad touch," Arrieta commented. " I won the ball, and beat the goalkeeper and scored."
It only took eight minutes for the Fire to draw level. In the 23rd minute, MacDonald found himself on the receiving end of a Gonzalo Segares long ball and played it to an oncoming Rolfe who sent it left post for the his first goal of the evening.
Three minutes later the Fire would find itself on top again when Patrick Nyarko played a ball across the top of the box to Rolfe who sent a blazing shot into the upper 90 for the 2-1 lead.
"Overall I think we played a very good game," Crew head coach Robert Warzycha stated. " Too bad we had to give up two goals in such a short period of time.”
The Crew continued to search for the equalizer which almost came in the 44th minute when Chad Marshall headed a corner kick towards goal but Johnson quickly caught the ball keeping the Fire on top at the half.
The Black & Gold would not let up in the second half continuing to seek out the elusive tally. In the 56th minute, Gaven forced Johnson to punch out another shot from distance and two minutes later Federico Higuaín barely missed a connection on an Emilio Renteria cross.
In the 78th, Mirosevic attempted to bicycle a cross in, but the ball sailed high above the crossbar and a minute later Crew defender Josh Williams’ close range blast was denied by Johnson.
The Black & Gold continued to pressure the Fire with a slew of chances in the waning moments of the match, but attempts by Higuaín in the 82nd and by Olman Vargas and Tony Tchani in the 87th were thwarted by Chicago’s defense fixing the result at 2-1.
Crew Drop 3-1 Decision at New York
HARRISON, NJ - September 15, 2012 - The Columbus Crew dropped a 3-1 decision to the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night. The Black & Gold suffered three unanswered goals after Milovan Mirosevic, assisted by Jairo Arrieta, put the Crew on top early in the first half. Red Bulls’ Thierry Henry tallied two goals and an assist, while Dax McCarty notched the game winner.
It only took three minutes for the Crew to find the back of the net. Arrieta received the ball from Mirosevic, who then tucked into the middle of the box. The Costa Rican forward sent it back in and the Chilean tapped it into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Six minutes later Henry was on the receiving end of a long ball from Rafa Marquez and, after splitting the Crew center backs, proceeded to shoot it to the right of Andy Gruenebaum, bringing the game level.
The Black & Gold almost got on the board again in the 15th minute but Mirosevic’s diving header, from a perfect service by Dilly Duka, went wide to the right of goal. The Crew continued to attack, trying to break the stalemate, but Tony Tchani’s 37th minute blast, from 35 yards out, barely cleared the crossbar sending the teams to the locker rooms tied at the half.
The teams entered the second stanza still tied and both goalkeepers did well to keep the score level early on. In the 60th minute, McCarty took a right footed shot from about 30 yards out, but Gruenebaum parried the ball away. A minute later, New York keeper Bill Gaudette saved a long-range shot by Eddie Gaven.
The Red Bulls finally got the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute when Henry’s corner kick found McCarty who headed the ball into the upper 90 for the 2-1 lead. Play stopped for five minutes immediately after the goal, as Gruenebaum hit his face against the post while he was attempting to save the header. The Crew netminder was replaced by Matt Lampson with five minutes left to play.
Henry would find the back of the net again in stoppage time with a phenomenal, unassisted goal, from the corner. The Red Bulls captain took a right-footed shot from the flag that sailed over the box and hit the far post before ricocheting into the back of the net fixing the result at 3-1.
Crew Making Playoff Push
COLUMBUS, OH - September 19, 2012 - It took a while but finally in the 89th minute the Crew broke through, earning a vital 3 points with a 1-0 win over Chivas USA tonight in Columbus. After an unrelenting attack that had the Crew dominating a majority of possession in the second half, Columbus found their goal scorer late in the match.
A cross into the box fell into Jairo Arrieta whose shot deflected off the Chivas keeper Dan Kennedy and out to Justin Meram. The young striker one touched the ball past Dan Kennedy to save the Columbus Crew and move them back into playoff position.
“I was off-balance and just wanted to get the ball on-frame and hit it with pace,” Meram stated. “Luckily that’s what happened and we came away with the win.”
Tonight’s match saw the return of two injured players who will be big players as the Crew push to make the MLS playoffs. Keeper Andy Gruenebaum made his return in stylish fashion keeping a determined Chivas side out of the net during the first 20 minutes.
“It’s a team effort top-to-bottom,” Gruenebaum commented. “The communication was really good tonight; guys were playing for each other and winning individual battles. It was something we have to keep going to stay in the race.”
Federico Higuaín, the recent addition to the Crew roster and big player in the winning streak during August, played his magical chances into the box and almost set up striker Jairo Arrieta multiple times for the game winner.
It was an important, and deserved, win for Columbus who came into the match trailing D.C. United by 2 points for the final Eastern playoff position. With the win Columbus is now up by one point on United and rests in fifth in the East.
After back to back losses the win couldn’t have come at a better time. With only 5 matches remaining the Crew needs every point they can get if they hope to make it back to the MLS playoffs.
The Crew offense looks to be back in top form with Higuain back and Jairo Arrieta running on all cylinders.
Arrieta, Columbus’ most threatening player all night, was credited with the assist on the Meram score and should have put in a few shots himself if it hadn’t been for a few offside calls. The combination of Higuain, Arrieta, Eddie Gaven, and Dilly Duka will be a dangerous one as the season comes to a close.
Coming up for Columbus is a trip to Chicago to take on the second place Fire and then back home for a two game stretch again the Philadelphia Union and Sporting Kansas City.
Crew Players Accompany Heroes on Hospital Visit
COLUMBUS, OH - September 11, 2012 - After a routine morning practice, several Columbus Crew players, including Copley’s own Josh Williams, took time to visit the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.
“This is my first time ever doing this,” Williams said. “It’s awesome just to see a child’s face light up when you walk into the room.” Not only were patients treated to the sights of the Black and Gold, but they also met some of Columbus’ finest as Engine 2 firefighters accompanied members of the Crew.
“It was a great experience,” Williams added. “It humbles me a great deal. I am so thankful for everything I have. I am thankful for this opportunity.”
Williams, Chris Birchall, Cole Grossman, and Justin Meram spent the afternoon meeting with children at the hospital. It was an important event for all involved and a demonstration that the Crew are much more than a club. They are a family that deeply cares for the community they play for each and every day.
Streak Comes to End for Crew
FOXBOROUGH, MA - September 5, 2012 - The Columbus Crew saw its six-game unbeaten streak end on Wednesday night, with a 2-0 loss at the hands of the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. A second half goal by Dimitry Imbongo followed by a Crew own goal proved to be enough for the home team to come away victorious and snap its own 10-game winless streak.
The Revolution came out of the gates fired up looking to get an early goal and set the pace for the match. The first clear chance came in the 10th minute when Imbongo saw his shot at goal saved by Andy Gruenebaum, who was instrumental in keeping the first half scoreless recording six of his career-high seven saves of the night.
Nine minutes later midfielder Lee Nguyen saw his free kick from the top of the box punched out of bounds by Gruenebaum.
The first chance for the Black & Gold came in the 27th, when Dilly Duka received a cross from Chris Birchall and cut inside the box, but his shot went wide hitting the side netting.
10 minutes later, the Crew was awarded a free kick from about 25 yards away from goal. Crew Designated Player Federico Higuaín set up to take the shot but the ball sailed barely above the crossbar.
Higuaín tried again in the 43rd after chesting down a cross from Jairo Arrieta, only to see the ball go high, sending the teams to the locker rooms scoreless at the half.
It only took eight minutes in the second half for New England to get on the board. In the 53rd, Homegrown forward Diego Fagundez hit the left post and then, as Gruenebaum came off his line to stop him, he deflected the ball to an oncoming Imbongo who tapped it into the empty net for the 1-0 lead.
The Revs almost doubled up in the 60th minute when defender Stephen McCarthy headed a Nguyen free kick to the left of Gruenebaum, but the linesman raised his flag calling the player offside.
The second goal came in the 74th minute as defender Chris Tierney flicked a Matt Reis long ball toward goal. As Imbongo was rushing to reach it, Crew captain Chad Marshall tried to head it towards Gruenebaum, but the ball went over the Black & Gold netminder and into the back of the net for the second goal of the night and the first own goal against the Crew this season.
Reis, who posted his second consecutive shutout, was instrumental in preserving the win in the final minutes of the match as consecutive shots by Nemanja Vukovic and Jairo Arrieta were denied handing the Crew its first defeat in the last seven matches.
Brilliant Finish for Crew in Stoppage Time
COLUMBUS, OH - September 1, 2012 - Goals from Chad Marshall and Emilio Renteria pushed the Crew to a victory over the Montreal Impact in dramatic fashion Saturday night. The win pushes the Crew to a 12-8-6 record as they inch closer to the playoffs.
The first half was rather pedestrian as both sides struggled to gain some sort of advantage. Opportunities were certainly at a trickle for the first 45 minutes, but it turned into a flood in the second half.
Montreal (12-14-3) opened the scoring with a goal from Italian striker Marco Di Vaio in the 73rd minute. The goal was set up by brilliant passing from Sanna Nyassi and Felipe Martins, who connected with Di Vaio for the goal. Crew fans were disheartened that the home team didn't score first, but they would equalize just seven minutes later. Federico Higuain sent a beautiful cross into the box that connected with a flying header from Marshall. This brought things even at 1-1, but it wasn't an end to the excitement.
Higuain was again the man to get things started, setting up Renteria with the game-winner in the 93rd minute. This brought the home crowd to a frenzy as time expired, giving the Crew another three points.
"Psychologically it's a great boost for us," Crew midfielder Chris Birchall stated. "We're just confident. We're winning games. We go into every game, hoping and believing that we can get something."
Columbus led in corner kicks (6 to 5) and shots (14 to 10) while the Impact held an advantage in possession (55% to 45%).
The Crew have been a different club with Higuain, who has singlehandedly revitalized the Columbus attack. He has great vision, is an accomplished passer, and simply put makes those around him so much better.
"We're more dangerous with Higuain," Crew striker Justin Meram commented. "I think he has changed our offense dramatically."
Only four home games remain in the 2012 regular season for Columbus as they prepare for back-to-back road matches against the New England Revolution (September 5) and the New York Red Bulls (September 15).