Down to 10 men, down a goal, and having failed to score in almost 225 minutes at home, the Columbus Crew seemed to have run out of magic from their early season run.
That was until midfielders Wil Trapp and Hector Jimenez decided to give a spark to what had been a hapless Crew attack at home so far this season.
In the 90th minute, Jimenez collected the ball from midfielder Wil Trapp on the left side of the 16-yard box, moved just inside of a defender and curled it beyond the keeper’s far post.
“We were down a man at that point; Wil was able to play a great ball to me,” Jimenez said following the match. “I was able to take a good touch inside and I saw a little gap in there. I was able to bend it in there and get it past the goalie.”
Trapp’s play leading up was just as impressive as the curling goal, as the young midfielder tracked back to his own 16-yard box, won the ball, and laid a deep ball right at the feet of Jimenez from the center circle.
“We gave the ball away in a bad spot … I just kind of guessed right on (Fabian) Espindola cutting back and I saw Hector open and he just did the rest,” Trapp said after the game. “I think anyone would have done the same, stepping up in a situation like that. It’s always great to come away with a point, especially late in a game.”
It was the second time this season the Crew have scored late on to win back points, with midfielder Justin Meram scoring in the 94th minute against Seattle March 29.
D.C. forward Fabian Espindola tallied the lone United goal of the night in the 31st minute. The Crew’s Federico Higuain lost the ball at the center circle and it was collected by United midfielder Nick DeLeon. The young midfielder kept possession into the box, and laid it off to Espindola, who beat goalkeeper Steve Clark in the far corner.
It was Espindola’s second goal of the season, and the sixth the Crew have allowed all season.
In the second half things got interesting as Columbus fought back for an equalizer, and committed more and more men forward.
In the 71st minute United forward Eddie Johnson burst forward and found his way around defender Giancarlo Gonzalez, who brought down the U.S. international. Although it appeared Gonzalez was the last defender, the official only produced a yellow card.
While the discussion over which card to give to Gonzalez was being had, Bernardo Anor, Higuain and Espindola entered a shoving match in the Crew goal, although no cards were produced as a result of the fight.
After the scrum, Columbus proceeded to push for a goal, but received a huge blow as Anor was shown a straight red card for a studs-up tackle of United midfielder Perry Kitchen.
Even though the Crew gained a late point at home, the record at Crew Stadium has been disappointing so far this season. One win, one draw, and one loss so far at home this season, compared to two wins and a draw on the road by Columbus.
The Crew need to quickly fix their home woes, as the New York Red Bulls are scheduled to come to town April 26, with first kick set for 7:30 p.m.