Sunday, May 1, 2011

65 Minutes of Domination! Columbus Crew 2, Vancouver Whitecaps 1, 4/30/2011

If the Columbus Crew match last night had ended in the 65th minute, I would have been writing about the Crew's best performance of the season. The Crew dominated possession, scored two goals (both by man of the match Emilio Renteria) and didn't allow Vancouver their first corner until the 71st minute.
Getty Images

The game seemed to be in hand for the Crew until Emmanuel Ekpo turned the ball over in the Crew's defensive third in the 69th minute. This resulted in a Vancouver counter that ended with Vancouver's Omar Salgado heading a cross into the Crew's net. For the last 31 minutes the Crew had to work hard to hang on to the win, as the pressure that Vancouver put on to get the equalizer was relentless.

But the Crew persevered and took 3 points from the match. This was the Crew's sixth straight match without a defeat, and allowed them to keep pace with the the New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union and the Houston Dynamo, who all won home matches this week.

Emmanuel Ekpo had just been substituted in for Kevin Burns at a defensive midfield position when he turned the ball over that resulted in the Whitecaps goal. Strange decision by Coach Robert Warzycha, as Ekpo, who can be very dangerous offensively, is known to make poor decisions when the ball is at his feet. Kevin Burns had worked very hard during the match, and probably needed a substitute, but the choice of Ekpo turned out to be very poor. Coach Warzycha may have been boxed into a corner, as his only other midfield choice on the bench was the little used Leandre Griffit who ended up entering match in the 88th. But it's hard to be too critical of Coach Warzycha's decisions with the Crew getting 12 out of a possible 18 points out of their last 6 matches.

One other note. Last night was Omar Salgado's first start for the Whitecaps. He was the first pick in the 2011 MLS Soccer SuperDraft and is only 17 years old. He was a beast last night, and gave the Crew's defense fits, especially in the last 35 minutes. He's going to be a very good player for the Whitecaps!

The Crew's next match is against one of the hottest team's in the MLS right now, the Seattle Sounders. The game is at Crew Stadium this Saturday, May 7th at 7:30pm EST. I'd certainly like to see a full house for this match, as it's going to be a good one!

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