Categorized | Match Reports

Columbus shuts out a rain soaked Real Salt Lake

Posted on 26 April 2010 by jzidar

When you review the 2009 Columbus v Salt Lake series you’ll find it isn’t one lacking in goals. The teams met four times during the 2009 campaign, twice in the regular season and twice in the playoffs. Last April Columbus took received a 4-1 spanking at Rio Tinto stadium in Salt Lake City. Then when RSL came to Columbus in July the Crew gave them a taste of their own medicine with a show of force by Steven Lenhart and Jason Garey who lead the Black and Gold to a 3-1 victory.

So when the two teams got drawn against each other in the first round of the playoffs everyone knew it was going to be a battle. The Crew went to Utah with a defensive mentality. Warzycha made the controversial move of benching Guillermo Barros Schelotto for Game 1 and intended to end the game 0-0 and rely on a win at their fortress in Columbus with the unwavering support of the Nordecke. Their plan would have been a success if not for a slight defensive mistake in the dying minutes that lead to a Robbie Findley goal. A week later Salt Lake would find themselves down 2-0 in the 35th minute courtesy of a brace by the inspired play of Guillermo Barros Schelotto. However RSL rallied and manged to bring the game level before the end of the half and then scored a third goal in the second 45 to win the series 4-2 on aggregate and end the Crew’s hopes of winning the double (Supporters Shield and MLS Cup) back-to-back.

Columbus

————-Hesmer————-

-Hejduk-Brunner-Iro-Padula-

————–Carroll————–

–Gaven—-Moffat—-Rogers–

—–Schelotto—-Lenhart—–

Bench: Schoeni, Zayner(Padula 54′), Burns(Schelotto 91′), Ekpo, Garey(Lenhart 85′), Renteria, Herrera

Salt Lake

—————Rimando————–

-Beltran-Borchers-Olave-Russell-

—————Beckerman————-

–Warner—-Williams—-Johnson–

——-Saborio——-Espindola——-

Bench: Reynish, McKenzie, Morales(Warner 62′), Alexandre, Gonzalez(Beltran 77′), Findley(Espindola 62′), Campos

Schelotto's penalty conversion was the difference in the game ©Taylor Birkos/ASN

So when the whistle blew for kickoff yesterday history would have you believe that you were going to witness a golazo bonanza. The game began with the Crew maintaining a majority of the possession and really pressing the attack. The home side had multiple corner kicks early and were earning free kicks in dangerous areas. The momentum had begun to shift in favor of RSL when a Crew attack lead up to Robbie Rogers being brought down inside the 18 yard box. “It was a good run by Robbie. He managed to get in front of Russell, I think, he put his body in front, so he didn’t have any choice. He had to do something, it was fortunate for us that we got the PK.” said Warzycha after the match.

Referee, Steven DePiero blew the whistle and pointed to the penalty spot. Against any other MLS goalie a GBS penalty kick is almost assuredly a goal, but Nick Rimando’s penalty kick saving abilities not only defeated Chicago Fire in the 2009 Eastern Conference final but also helped to bring down the LA Galaxy in the 2009 MLS Cup game. Crew Stadium waited with baited breath as Schelotto approached the ball, took a moment to line up the shot and then slotted the ball into the back of the net past an outstretched Rimando. The remainder of the second half belonged to RSL who continually pounded the box with attacks until Depiero signaled for half time.

The second 45 was very reminiscent of the first 45. Columbus controlled play early but as the half wore on momentum yet again began to shift in favor of Salt Lake. The Crew spent the last 20 playing bunker ball while the Salt Lake offense bombed ball after ball into the Crew box. Warzycha was pleased with how the final quarter of an hour went, “I was hoping that instead of playing their normal game on the ground and trying to find Morales and Williams in front of the box and get some free kicks, they were dumping the ball in front, and that’s what we need. We had Brunner and Iro and I think they won all of the headers. So I was actually glad that they did that.”

The Crew managed a total of 14 shots throughout the game but only one was on the mark. Normally one shot on goal isn’t enough to earn a win, let alone a tie, but the Crew managed to make it stand the full 90+. When questioned about it Warzycha said, “I’ll take it. It’s three points. I’d rather win this scrappy game, knowing that we’re going to play much better, then lose to them in a good game, and how many times did we hit the crossbar and have some chances. So today it was enough to have one shot on goal and actually score, so I’m very happy about that.”

Player Ratings

On scale of 1-10 with 10 being best

Hesmer: 9 (Came up with numerous big saves to keep the Crew ahead. Didn’t mishandle the ball or create any awkward clearances despite the weather)

Hejduk: 7 (Was a rock in the back. Unleashed his trademark two-footed tackle to nullify the RSL attacks while still being able to provide offensive support by making great  runs up the wing)

Brunner: 5 (Not his usual performance. The rust from lack of action was far more apparent with him than others on the team. Made a poor back pass early in the match that required Hesmer to come up big)

Iro: 6 (Looks a little better every match and is a continual reminder that hard work pays off. Should of scored his second goal of the year from a wide open header but  put it straight into the ground and then over the net)

Padula: 6 (Was a little slow at first but settled in as the game progressed. Provided good distribution out of the back)

Carroll: 6 (Didn’t command control of the center as much as he should have. Had a quiet game)

Gaven: 6 (Helped dictate the pace of the game and control the ball through the middle)

Moffat: 5 (Did what he could to clog up the middle but was outnumbered and outmatched. Didn’t provide much on either end of the field)

Rogers: 8 (Took the ball to the box frequently. Wasn’t afraid to take a shot and ripped a couple close ones from 20+ yards)

Schelotto: 7 (Did well to distribute the ball to Lenhart and the wingers. Served in accurate and dangerous free kicks/corners.  Performs better when he drops back more into the midfield which gives cause to wonder why there aren’t two forwards in front of him rather than one)

Lenhart: 5 (Couldn’t seem to decide what to do with the ball when he had it. Didn’t really get any looks at goal, didn’t create many dangerous passes or runs)

Zayner: 7 (Unlike the other players returning after extended absence Jed looked strong. Brought a more speed to the left side. Only got beat once but upon viewing the replay it looked to have been because he was fouled)

Warzycha: 7 (Went with a defensive strategy against a fast, counter attacking squad.  Continues to wait until really late in the game before utilizing his substitutions)

(Garey and Burns also made appearances but didn’t have enough time to settle into the match and make a noticeable impact)

Referee: Steven DePiero, Referee’s Assistants: Joe Fletcher and Hector Vergara, 4th Official: Andrew Chapin

Attendance: 14,322

Weather at kickoff: 67 degrees and raining

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