A Justin Meram stoppage-time goal secured a 2-1 victory for the Columbus Crew (3-0-0, 9 points) in the Pacific Northwest on Saturday night, as the Black & Gold battled from behind to earn three points against Seattle Sounders FC (2-2-0, 6 points) at CenturyLink Field. The win gives the Black & Gold three consecutive victories to begin their 2014 campaign under new Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter – the best start to a season in the Crew’s 19-year history. The win moves the surging Crew to the top of Major League Soccer’s early-season Eastern Conference standings, two points above second-place Sporting Kansas City.
“We were able to create our own luck because of comprehensive passing,” Crew forward Federico Higuain commented. “We were a complete team tonight, in the sense of being able to put passes together and because of that, we were able to win.”
After watching the home side take a first-half lead through a Kenny Cooper strike in the 22nd minute of play, the Black & Gold came storming back in the second-half behind a Higuain penalty kick goal. Forward Dominic Oduro – making his first Crew start of 2014 – drew the penalty in the 58th minute, as Seattle defender Djimi Traore fouled Oduro inside the 18-yard-box. Traore was sent off for his efforts, allowing the Crew to play with a man-advantage for the remainder of the contest. Higuain converted from the spot in the 59th minute, with the score level at 1-1 until Meram broke the deadlock in the 94th minute, having only entered the match five minutes earlier. Receiving a short corner from Higuain, Meram turned to face Seattle’s goal from the top of the area, curling a perfectly placed shot past goalkeeper Stefan Frei to secure the win.
“It was a tough first half,” Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark stated. “It’s nice to make saves. For me, that’s all I really care about, keeping the guys in the game. Obviously to win like that, it’s a fantastic win for us as a young team, and it was a great atmosphere.”
The Crew returns to action at Crew Stadium on Saturday, April 5 against Trillium Cup rival Toronto FC in the first of three 2014 matches presented by Scotts (6:00 p.m. ET / Time Warner Cable SportsChannel).