Crew Stadium was on fire tonight. No, literally. It was on fire. As I sat down to start up my live stream to watch Columbus Crew take on Eastern Conference rivals D.C. United at home, I didn’t expect to see news reports of the scoreboard on fire! It was insane! Players, who had come out to the field for their warm ups, were taken back into the locker rooms and the Columbus Fire Department was called in to extinguish the flames.
Luckily, no one was injured in the incident and it seemed to mark the beginning of a pretty crazy night for the Crew.
The black and gold have been winless thus far this season at Crew Stadium, so I was very eager to see them exert some dominance over a struggling D.C. United. And they did not disappoint. First of all, we got a line up change. Finally, FINALLY, Jairo Arrieta got the starting nod as the lone striker. I have been anxiously waiting for this because I think – while Dominic Oduro has been fantastic for the Crew and deserves his starts – Arrieta and Federico Higuain have a great partnership. I’ve been dying to see how that could come to play this season with Oduro in the mix.
This game proved that I would not be disappointed. The game ended 3-0 for the Crew. 3-0! That’s pretty awesome. And no, in case you are wondering, D.C. United weren’t like a lame duck out on the pitch. Their defense line was great at tracking back and Dwayne De Rosario made a little noise now and again in front of the Crew goal.
But it never materialized for them. It did for the Crew. The first goal was fantastic play between Higuain, Arrieta and Oduro. In the 15th minute, Higuain had a fabulous ball to Arrieta up front, who stayed with the ball and provided nice service across goal to the feet of speedy Oduro. United’s keeper Bill Hamid tried to get a hand on the shot, but it slipped past his fingers into the net.
Soon after, D.C. woke up a little bit and charged toward the Crew goal. Pajoy even headed the ball into the net, but the fourth official ruled two D.C. players offside. Pajoy wasn’t one of those players, which begs the question if the goal should have been disallowed. A similar debate occurred in the previous game between the two teams. One might wonder if that goal would have given D.C. a bit more confidence, but we’ll never know.
At the 26th minute, defender Josh Williams would notch his third goal of the season. Higuain took a corner kick which Williams hit hard at the left corner of goal. Again, Hamid could do nothing to stop it. It was awesome to see Josh score another goal and in front of the Nordecke – the supporters section of Crew stadium.
2-0 is always a shaky score line, but I was fairly happy to go into half time with it. But that wouldn’t be the case. During stoppage time, United’s McDonald took Arrieta down in the box and the ref awarded Crew the penalty. Higuain smashed it into the back, getting himself on the score sheet and giving Crew a 3-0 lead going into half time.
The second half was pretty much as you were, without the goals. D.C. were clearly getting frustrated with the situation, but they weren’t going down quietly. De Rosario and Pajoy both had shots on goal and even Korb had a hell of shot toward goal, which went wide. Rafael had his own try at keeper Andy Gruenebaum, but it was for not.
It was a great win for the Crew at home. The team was very solid and had a great energy in their play. It wasn’t easy for them – United had several challenges as I said, they didn’t give up a lot of kicks or fouls to the Crew either and continued to press the defense. But the damage in the first half was too much.
I liked this. I liked this a lot. Next week, the Crew will take on New York Red Bulls and I feel the boys have a great chance. Especially if head coach Robert Warzycha goes with the line up he chose tonight. I’m not sure why Arrieta hasn’t been starting as long as he has – I don’t pretend to know what goes on in Warzycha’s mind – but he definitely proved tonight he deserves the go-ahead. With Higuain and Oduro behind him, it could flourish more into a solid offensive force.
And hey Tyson Wahl, Eddie Gaven, Danny O’Rourke and Josh Williams – keep doing what you guys are doing. These four were fantastic for the Crew in the midfield and back line.
Several might have wondered what the fire at the beginning of the night boded for the team, but it turns out, it wasn’t anything. Or… .maybe it was. Regardless, this Crew fan got to see the dominance she wanted and Columbus got their first win at home.