Columbus, Ohio (June 30, 2018) — Eduardo Sosa enjoyed a hugely successful first start for Columbus Crew SC.
The Venezuelan attacking midfielder opened up his club account in the Black and Gold’s 2-1 victory over Real Salt Lake on Saturday. His 23rd-minute strike occurred 17 minutes after a Gyasi Zardes penalty opened up the scoring.
With the result, Columbus is now unbeaten in six straight home games against RSL dating to April 24, 2010. It also moves them to 12-5-4 all-time against the club from Utah.
From the standpoint of the MLS regular season, Saturday’s win was their first since a road triumph over the New England Revolution on May 19th. It also erased a two-game losing skid and a winless run of five.
Eduardo Sosa Opens Columbus Crew SC Account in Win Over Real Salt Lake
This match had drama early on when referee Drew Fischer called a penalty on Danilo Acosta three and a half minutes into the game. It came as a result of him pulling down rookie Luis Argudo in the box. Zardes stepped up and smashed the penalty kick past veteran RSL backstop Nick Rimando for his 11th tally of 2018.
Then came a brilliant sequence of play midway through the opening stanza. It began with Artur making a well-flighted pass to Harrison Afful who headed it right to the feet of Pedro Santos. The Portuguese winger, who’s beginning to elicit criticism due to lack of production, dribbled towards goal and squared it to Sosa. The 22-year-old proceeded to blast it over Rimando to double the Crew SC advantage.
— Columbus Crew SC (@ColumbusCrewSC) July 1, 2018
Sosa certainly took advantage of Federico Higuaín’s absence from the 18-man squad. It’s the latest example of him gradually seeing more game minutes. The Barinas, Venezuela native didn’t make his first appearance for the club until June 2, when he came on in the 62nd minute of a 3-3 draw with Toronto FC.
Things Got Hot Under the Collar Late
RSL halved the Columbus lead courtesy of Albert Rusnak in the 74th minute. The Slovakian playmaker took advantage of some shoddy marking centrally by redirecting a low cross from João Plata. It ended the possibility of Jon Kempin registering his first clean sheet in a Crew SC uniform.
Conditions were sweltering at MAPFRE Stadium. It necessitated hydration breaks at the 30th and 75th minutes of the match. Combined with other halts in play due to injuries and subs, fourth official Marcos de Oliveira indicated nine minutes of second-half stoppage time.
It was a harrowing ordeal for the fans without starting goalkeeper Zack Steffen in net. But ultimately, the Black and Gold successfully protected the one-goal cushion to take the full three points. They temporarily move to third in the Eastern Conference standings pending the result of tomorrow’s game between Toronto and the New York Red Bulls.
Crew SC has a quick turnaround for their next game. It takes place on Tuesday when they welcome Costa Rican club Saprissa to MAPFRE Stadium for an international friendly. After that, they embark on their second trip to Los Angeles in three weeks as the LA Galaxy await on July 7. Kickoff from StubHub Center commences at 10:30 p.m. ET.