Columbus, Ohio (April 21, 2018) — Columbus Crew SC ended a frustrating stretch of scoreless soccer on Saturday. However, the winless run remains.
The Black and Gold played to a 2-2 draw with the New England Revolution at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday. Though the club’s three-game losing streak came to an end, their current winless run is now at four games. It’s the longest such run for the team since July 3, 2016.
Columbus Crew SC Scoreless Streak Ends but Winless Run Remains
Manager Gregg Berhalter made one change to the starting XI from last week’s 1-0 loss to D.C. Second-year attacking midfielder Niko Hansen made his first start of 2018 in place of Cristian Martinez. Hansen’s last appearance in the starting lineup came on May 26, 2017.
The Black and Gold came into this game on a prolonged run of less than stellar form from the standpoint of finding the net. The last time they did so was when Gyasi Zardes scored in the 29th minute of what was eventually a 2-1 defeat to the Vancouver Whitecaps on March 31st. The two games since were 1-0 losses to D.C. and the Chicago Fire.
But that scoreless streak came to an end fairly early on Saturday. In the ninth minute, Federico Higuain sent in a cross towards an onrushing Milton Valenzuela. He then redirected it centrally which led to some emergency defending on the part of the Revolution. It led to Andrew Farrell heading it into his own net and giving Crew SC a 1-0 lead.
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) April 21, 2018
The tally erased a streak of 260 consecutive minutes without a score for Columbus, even if it didn’t come from one of their field players.
New England responded fairly quickly. Five minutes after Farrell’s mistake, the visitors equalized via Teal Bunbury. The 28-year-old collected a ball at the top of the six-yard box, turned to his left and beat goalkeeper Zack Steffen far post from a fairly acute angle. His strike underscored his current impressive goal-scoring form as it was his third goal in four games for the Revs.
— New England Revolution (@NERevolution) April 22, 2018
Hansen nearly made the most of his starting opportunity a few times. The first chance came in the 19th minute when he found himself open in the box with just Matt Turner to beat. But the Revs goalie dove to his right and parried it away. Then came a play in the 42nd minute where he had nothing but open goal but was unable to redirect a Gyasi Zardes square ball into the net.
Zardes himself found pay dirt just a minute later. The Crew SC center forward was the beneficiary of some exceptional link-up play between him and two of the club’s attacking players. Pedro Santos initially slotted through a diagonal ball to Federico Higuain who connected with Zardes. He then dribbled to his right to shake off Jalil Anibaba and beat Turner low and to the far post.
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) April 22, 2018
But for the second time in the first half, the Crew SC lead didn’t last long. One minute into stoppage time, Columbus center back Jonathan Mensah attempted to settle the ball with his chest. But Juan Agudelo dispossessed him, then found Cristian Penilla in the box who calmly put it past Steffen on the full volley to tie it up, 2-2.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 22, 2018
Crew SC made a concerted effort to hold serve at home and get the full three points in the second half. They owned a roughly 60-40 edge in possession and outshot New England 11-3 in the second stanza. And once again, they had to feel on the unlucky side considering there were two hit posts, including one right before referee Chris Penso blew for time.
That has to make Saturday’s result feel like Columbus left a few points on the table in front of their home support.
Saturday’s contest was the first leg of a two-game homestand for the Black and Gold. The club is in action at MAPFRE Stadium once more next weekend when they host the San Jose Earthquakes. Kickoff takes place on April 28th at 7:30 PM.