Columbus Crew SC Defense Falters Late in Loss to Vancouver Whitecaps

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Crew SC Defense

Columbus, Ohio (March 31, 2018)Columbus Crew SC let three points slip away on Saturday.

The club let in a pair of second-half goals which nullified their 1-0 lead and resulted in a 2-1 loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps. It’s a result that reinforces Columbus’ struggles against the team from British Columbia with Vancouver now unbeaten in seven straight on the road against the Black and Gold.

Columbus Crew SC Defense Gives Up Two Second Half Goals in First Loss of 2018

First Half Dominance

The match started off promising for the home team. Gyasi Zardes continued his torrid start to the 2018 season, netting his fourth goal of the season in the 29th minute to put Columbus up 1-0. It marked the earliest the 26-year-old striker netted that many goals in his entire career.

Throughout the opening stanza, Columbus looked dominant. That showed in the halftime stats with Crew SC owning a 7-2 edge in total shots along with nearly 64 percent possession. The club did a great job limiting the counterattacking danger that Vancouver was bound to create given the nature of the two team’s style of play.

Second Half Setbacks Doom Columbus

But that all changed once the teams came out for the second half. First came a goal from Brek Shea in the 51st minute that came from a loss of possession in the middle of the park. Kei Kamara took the ball and slotted it out right to Bernie Ibisi who crossed it towards the goal. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen got a hand on it but directed right to Shea who struck it into the net via a half volley.

Vancouver appeared to take the lead via Alphonso Davies who came into the game in the 67th minute for Ibisi. Once again, it came via the counterattack. Davies collected the ball near the center circle, dribbled past center back Jonathan Mensah and putting it past Steffen. But VAR showed that the 17-year-old handled the ball during his foray towards goal and referee Jose Carlos Rivero disallowed the goal.

In the end, the Whitecaps got their game-winner. And it came via a player in Kamara who’s time in Columbus came to a tumultuous end two seasons ago. The 6’4″ target man headed the ball past Steffen and into the net after winning a rather obvious matchup nightmare from a marking standpoint with Wil Trapp giving up eight inches in height to him.

Whitecaps Counterattack Proves Lethal

Vancouver’s ability to create chances in transition troubled Columbus greatly, particularly in the second half. It’s a significant reason why the club sacrificed the lead and missed out on potentially going unbeaten through five matches for the first time in club history. Part of it involved issues with conceding too much space for the ‘Caps to exploit.

“In the second half, we did lose our shape a little bit,” head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter noted postgame. “We did give them a little too much space.”

“When you look at the first goal, it just was an example where we could’ve been better. The goal that was disallowed was a very similar situation. We had a chance to limit the counterattack and we let the player run. So again, this is a good wake up call for us (in) that we can’t go through the motions in this league. We need to perform.”

The result is Columbus’ first loss of 2018 after a 3-0-1 start. Their next match takes place next Saturday when they travel to Bridgeview and take on the Chicago Fire for the first time this season.

Photo credit: Columbus Crew SC Communications

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