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Columbus returns a vengeance

Posted on 03 July 2010 by jzidar

The knock out stage of the FIFA World Cup has begun and with it has come the return of the MLS regular season.  The Columbus Crew returned to action this week against DC United and then took on the Rochester Rhinos in Open Cup play….







Bench: Gruenebaum; Iro(Padula 87′), Zayner; Ekpo(Garey 77′), Oughton, Duka, Lenhart(Renteria 70′)

DC United





Bench: Hamid; Pena(James 53′), Rice; Morsink; Emilio, Moreno(Cristman 72′), Allsopp(Allsopp 81′)

After going undefeated in their first 6 games of the season Columbus went into the World Cup break on a low note. They lost at home to Los Angeles and then dropped points late at San Jose and Colorado, which turned a win and a tie into a draw and a loss.  When the official lineup was released it suggested that Warzycha was going with a 3-5-2 formation but when the players took the field it was soon apparent that Moffat was occupying the right back position.  Danny O’Rourke and Frankie Hejduk were still nursing injuries (knee and hamstring, respectively).  The move was one that raised a few eyebrows considering the availability of defenders Jed Zayner and Andy Iro. With Moffat on the backline and O’Rourke on the bench that left Eddie Gaven to slide into the center of the park with Brian Carroll. Gaven’s move left his normal position on the right wing up for grabs. Warzycha selected Emilio Renteria to start in that spot over Ekpo and had this to say about the decision, “We moved Eddie Gaven into the middle so we thought that Emilio (Renteria) would be effective on the right side. With his speed and his energy we thought he was gonna be good over there and he created a couple chances in the first half.” Renteria was a dangerous presence the entire first half but when he and Jason Garey switched positions in the second half was when he finally was able to make an impact.

In the 57th minute Jason Garey sent a  leading pass through the United defense and into the path of Renteria. Renteria took control and moved into the box from the right side.  DC goalkeeper Troy Perkins charged out of his goal and slid in for the tackle only to watch in dismay as Renteria calmly chipped the ball over him. The ball looked destined for the top corner but ended up being a bit high and pinged off the post. Schelotto was lurking at the far post and as the ball fell it smacked right into his hand. Without a second thought Schelotto let the ball fall to the ground and then slide it into the net as the United defense screamed for handball. Their pleas fell on deaf ears however and referee, Terry Vaughn, ruled the goal legitimate. “Situations like this sometimes they go for you sometimes they go against you. You’re gonna get some calls for and against so that is gonna even out at the end of the season.” said Warzycha when asked about Schelotto’s goal.

The Crew struck again exactly a half an hour later. In the 87th minute Guillermo Barros Schelotto found himself marching, yet again, out to take a corner kick.  He lined up the shot and eyed the usual targets who were jostling for position in the box.  The ball left his foot and Crew Stadium held its collective breath as Lenhart, Marshall, Iro and Brunner went skyward.  the ball flew towards the near post where Lenhart managed to get a touch on it and send it towards the back post where Brunner was able to knock it in, not with his head but with his foot! The Crew were up 2-0 over their long time rivals with 3 minutes and change left to play.

Columbus had the opportunity to slam the door on DC In the dying minutes of the game when Clyde Simms came in with a late tackle on Steven Lenhart.  The ball was placed on the spot but Columbus’ penalty pro, Schelotto, deferred to Lenhart in what he described post game as an attempt to give the young striker a boost of confidence. Unfortunately the plan back fired on the good intentioned Argentine. Lenhart chose power over finesse when taking his kick and slammed the ball right down the middle. Despite Perkins guessing wrong and diving full stretch to his right the shot was so fast that it ricocheted off his legs. Warzycha and Schelotto were seen having a discussion on the field after the match about how the penalty kick was handled. At first Warzycha smirked and simply said, “I’m a coach and he is a player so we talked about the game.” He then added, “I don’t think in my mind Steven should take a penalty. I think the game of soccer is specific. We remeber the time DC was winning 3-0 in Seattle and Seattle scored two goals in the last minute. Why put the team in a situation like that. 3-0 is 3-0. There is no way they can come back from three down. 2-0 is the worst score in soccer. I think Guillermo should have taken it.”

Columbus has a plethora of home games in the following weeks and it is crucial that they take as many points as possible while they have home field advantage if they want to cut the gap between themselves and Los Angeles in the race for the Supporters Shield.  Not only are the upcoming matches important in the battle for the SS but also for the top spot in the Eastern Conference (EC).  Three of their next five games are against intraconference foes.  Columbus faces Chicago(EC) at home this Saturday followed by a road trip to Houston. They then return home with fixtures against the Kansas City Wizards(EC), the New York Red Bulls(EC) and then another match up against Houston.  On top of all that Columbus began their run in the US Open Cup in a game on Tuesday in which they defeated the Rochester Rhinos 2-1 (Look for a recap of that game later tonight).  They will now face the Charlston Battery on July 6th at Columbus Crew Stadium.

Referee: Terry Vaughn, Referee Assistants: Philippe Briere; Daniel Belleau, 4th Official: Landis Wiley

Weather at kickoff: 80 degrees and overcast

In non-match news the Crew have announced that they have chosen to release forward Sergio Herrera.  Herrera was a pre-season signing that was intended to provide the team with a true forward capable of scoring double digit goals but since joining the club he has only seen one minute of MLS action.  The departure of Herrera has made a roster spot available which will be reclaimed by Kevin Burns who has returned from the disabled list after recovering from a sports hernia. Burns has begun practicing with the squad and will be available as soon as this Saturday against Chicago.

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