|Crew Goal Scorer Eddie Gaven and Emilio Renteria!|
Another Budweiser $1 draft night at Columbus Crew Stadium last night drew 11,246 people to the match, which was pretty boring and uneventful until the 66th minute when Emilio Renteria entered the match as a sub for an ineffective Jeff Cunningham.
Maybe it was the $1 drafts, but immediately after Renteria entered the match, the energy in the stadium increased 10-fold, and the Crew, feeling the love, began to play with a sense of urgency that ultimately lead to a goal by Eddie Gaven and a 1-0 victory over the Portland Timbers.
It's very obvious that with Emilio Renteria on the field, the Crew are a different team. He is a handful for defenses to deal with, and when he is on the field, good things just seem to happen! I have to admit I have a man crush for Emilio!
The Crew's defense have only allowed one goal in their last four matches. And quite frankly the goal that the LA Galaxy scored last week would have been saved by William Hesmer last week if the shot hadn't been deflected by Eric Gehrig.
Andy Gruenebaum got the starting nod at keeper last night after it was determined that William Hesmer's quad was too hurt to make a go of it. Between him and the Crew's back-line of Sebastian Miranda, Chad Marshall (who in my opinion is the biggest MLS All-Star game snub this year), Julius James and Josh Gardner the Timbers could not reach the back of the net.
I feel very optimistic about the Crew right now. With two legitimate starters missing from last night's line-up due to injury (Andres Mendoza and Rich Balchan) the Crew still found a way to win. And this Crew team knows how to play defense, which should serve them well going into the final third of the MLS season.
The Crew hit a pretty rough part of their schedule over the next two weeks. First, a Tuesday night friendly versus Newcastle United of the English Premier League, and then two tough road matches at Real Salt Lake and at the Colorado Rapids. Getting 2 points minimum out of the matches at Rio Tinto and Dick's Sporting Goods Park would be a great result.