COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC are starting to find their right groove. After defeating DC United on the road last week, Crew SC returned home to face the Portland Timbers in a 2015 MLS Cup rematch. Looking to rebound from their bitter defeat against the Green and Gold in MLS Cup, Columbus certainly made sure they knew how upset they were. An undefeated streak would soon be no more, thanks to Crew SC.
How Columbus Crew SC Defeated Portland Timbers
Goals Galore First Half
After Dairon Asprilla opened up the scoring in the fifth minute of play, Crew SC took over the game and countered Portland numerous times. Six minutes later, midfielder Federico Higuain serviced in what seemed to be a long corner kick. Forward Ola Kamara was able to get his head on the end and knock it forward to Justin Meram who was able to slot it home past keeper Jake Gleeson. Game on, Timbers.
Tying the game up took a toll on the Timbers. Losing possession woefully cost them multiple chances to take the lead. Crew SC took advantage of the high press by the Timbers backline. Higuain found a wide open Kamara with a long ball down the field. Kamara with a one touch, chipped Gleeson to double Columbus’ lead. Crew fans would say the second goal for the Black and Gold is deja vu. Former striker Kei Kamara did the same thing against Orlando City just a few years ago.
Crew SC Deflates
Now, Columbus didn’t really deflate. But the Fanendo Adi first half stoppage time goal could’ve been prevented. A trap and shoot while falling in the penalty area, was able to give the Timbers a second goal. This would tie the game up at 2-2 going into halftime.
Niko Hansen Goal Seals Win For Crew SC
The teams battled in the second half just like the first but were not able to create any legitimate chances, none worth mentioning at least. The majority of the second half contained fouls, possession giveaways, and off target shots.
That is until Crew SC SuperDraft pick Niko Hansen became the hero of the night.
The Crew SC SuperDraft pick became the hero and favorite of the night with his rebound shot off the hands of Gleeson. This would be deemed the game winner for Crew SC, and give the home team the full three points.
Tactically, Crew SC dominated the Timbers. Last week in DC, head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter played a 3-4-2-1. This game, he switched back to the old 4-2-3-1. It was noticeable from afar that defenders Waylon Francis and Harrison Afful were playing a little more tucked in than out wide as usual.
With two different formations, bringing home three points each, it’s hard to tell what Berhalter will do next week.
Crew Dominate Possession, Other Stats
Columbus definitely dominated every factor of the game you can think of. Taking home 16 total shots (7 on target, 5 off target, 4 blocked). They also annihilated the Timbers in possession with an outstanding 64.4 percent and an overall 82 percent passing accuracy.
Columbus Crew SC are back home next weekend as they host Orlando City SC. Meanwhile, the Timbers are also home to take on the New England Revolution.
Photo credit: Columbus Crew SC Communications