Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By DAN KARELL
Federico Higuain’s late first-half goal was canceled out by Chris Wondolowski’s early second-half header as the San Jose Earthquakes and Columbus Crew settled for a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon at Buck Shaw Stadium.
Despite a defeat to Toronto FC last week, Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter went with the exact same starting 11, and while they came out in the opening 20 minutes with more energy, they failed to find any targets in the box on crosses. Fullbacks Josh Williams and Waylon Francis found plenty of space forward but their crossing let them down on a number of occasions.
As San Jose began to impose themselves in the game and nearly took the lead through a Shea Salinas redirected shot in the box, the Crew found their scoring shoes just before halftime.
A long diagonal pass in the from right to left by Crew midfielder Hector Jimenez in the 44th minute was taken down by Francis. His first touch took him towards goal and though it was heavy, Francis’ speed allowed him to get behind the Earthquakes defense and create an opportunity.
With Dom Oduro making a near-post run, Francis cut the ball back to Higuain, and the Designated Player fired a low strike past Jon Busch for a 1-0 lead.
Into the second half, the Earthquakes came out with much more energy and intensity, earning three corner kicks in the first six minutes. The Earthquakes brought on Yannick Djalo and the Portuguese international made a difference right away.
On the Quakes’ third corner of the half, Salinas sent in a beautifully curled ball that was met by Wondolowski, who guided a header home to tie the score in the 51st minute.
Djalo himself had a couple of chances to score in the second half, one chance hitting the far post off a corner and the second after flicking the ball over Jimenez’s head and putting a close-range strike wide.
As the game reached the later stages, it became more stretched, leading to counter-attack opportunities for both sides. Oduro had a chance to become the Crew’s latest hero with a left-footed shot in the 82nd minute, but it clanged off the crossbar. Wondolowski had one final chance in stoppage time but Crew goalkeeper Steve Clark watched the shot go wide from the moment it left Wondolowski’s foot.
Here are the game highlights: