The Columbus Crew took advantage of more defensive mistakes from D.C. United and rolled to a 3-0 win tonight at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Dominic Oduro, Josh Williams and Federico Higuain all scored for the Crew in the first half to put United out of the match early.
Despite a 50-minute delay to the start of the match because the main scoreboard at the South end of the stadium caught fire during pregame warmups, the Crew were supremely efficient as they scored on all three of their shots on goal in the half and took a 3-0 lead into halftime. United, losers of five straight games, were hard done by the assistant referee for the second time this season against Columbus as a goal was waived off when it should have counted. Perry Kitchen had scored on a header from a Chris Korb cross just minutes after Columbus had taken a 1-0 lead but it was called back incorrectly for offside. The replay clearly showed that while United had two players in a passive offside position, the ball came directly to Kitchen who was clearly onside.
But as United’s luck so far in 2013 would have it, the Crew came down the field and doubled their lead just two minutes after the disputed non-goal. Needless to say whatever confidence United had at that point was clearly gone as you could visibly see the frustration of this early season meltdown on their collective faces. Kyle Porter forced a good near post save from Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum late in the first half that would have cut the lead in half and temporarily had given United some life. The Black-and-Red kept the Crew on their heels but could not get the all important goal. All that was left was the final nail in the coffin for the match provided by Brandon McDonald.
McDonald, easily his worst performance in a United shirt, was subbed out at halftime for Ethan White who made his season debut with United. Earlier this week head coach Ben Olsen promised that he would hold players responsible for their actions and clearly McDonald was the first player to pay that price with his awful 45 minutes. McDonald was mostly responsible for all three Columbus goals but his blunder for the opener stuck out the most. McDonald’s attempted back-header to Bill Hamid was poorly played and left the team scrambling. Jairo Arrieta’s cross after a missed tackle by McDonald found the onrushing Oduro to easily pop into goal for the 1-0 lead.
Two minutes after United were denied their equalizer, the Crew scored on a corner kick when Josh Williams beat – guess who – to the ball and his volley eluded a diving Hamid to make it 2-0. In stoppage time in the first half, McDonald was turned inside out by a one-two combination from Arrieta and Gaven and he clumsily rolled over Gaven for the penalty.
United did not give up entirely as they pushed the attack in the second half but were denied by the woodwork and simply poor finishing. It’s no wonder United is where they are right now when you go four straight matches on the road without scoring a goal. United’s best opportunities came late when Lionard Pajoy set up Marcos Sanchez in the area but his shot was well wide of the open goal. Pajoy would later hit the crossbar on a very nice free kick in the 93rd minute pretty much summing up United’s effort on the night and the season so far.
United will now have the next 10 day off before they welcome the Houston Dynamo to RFK Stadium on Wednesday, May 8th.
– United was without Chris Pontius due to a groin injury suffered in training on Thursday morning. The injury is expected to keep Pontius out for a minimum of a few weeks
– Bill Hamid simply hasn’t had much help the past two weeks. Philadelphia and Columbus have put 6 goals past Hamid on only 7 shots on goal. That has to be some kind of record