Fans in San Jose must have thought they were dreaming when their Earthquakes not only scored a goal, but scored to take a lead against the hottest team in Major League Soccer, the Columbus Crew. The lead was enjoyable, though short-lived, as the Crew showed why they are the best team in the league through seven weeks.
Robbie Rogers two goals helped the Crew post a 3-2 victory that kept Columbus in first place in the East and left the Earthquakes trying to figure out how to win a game at home.
SBI Correspondents Rich Fidler and Kevin Matthiessen took in the action and share their reports on the match with us:
Crew shows heart in comeback win
By RICH FIDLER
Don’t look now but the there’s a team in Major League Soccer that has been victorious is six of their first seven games this season and Saturday night they became the first MLS team to win after not scoring the first goal of the game – we’re talking about the Columbus Crew.
When aging left-back Ezra Hendrickson hit the crossbar in the 12th minute on an open header in the penalty area and the Crew continued to fizzle when close to goal – you got that sinking feeling. And when Ramiro Corrales scored the first goal on a header just before half-time, you may have thought the Crew would fall flat.
But not this Columbus Crew, this team ignored the score and the constant misses. When new signing Emmanuel Ekpo took the field for a very quiet Eddie Gaven in the 69th minute things changed quickly – four minutes later he’d delivered a pin-point ball that split the defense and Robbie Rogers slammed a left-footed shot back Joe Cannon to tie the score. Then eight minutes later when Alejandro Moreno found the speedy 20-year old he put the Crew ahead with a right-footed shot.
Brad Evans scored his first MLS goal just two minutes later that would stand to be the game winner. Frankie Hejduk unfortunately redirected a ball in his own net just minutes from full-time to give the faithful San Jose fans at least a glimmer of hope – it was the only error on another strong night for the right-back who seems to have found his own fountain of youth, and no it isn’t the five pre-game espresso shots.
It was another step in the right direction for the Crew, who are showing teams throughout the league that the last few seasons performances shouldn’t be taken in to account when they take on the black and gold – this is a new team with young and old making a huge contribution to what continues to be the best start in team history. It’s a start that really nobody outside the Crew locker room thought was possible – but we’ll continue to ride the wave because as Crew fans, it’s been a long time since we’ve been able to enjoy MLS this much.
The Crew now head north of the border to BMO Field to face a squad that is quite different from the one they faced in their home opener when they escaped with a 2-0 victory.
Goals are nice but a home win would be better
By KEVIN MATTHIESSEN
Though the two goals were great, and having the lead for a while against the best team in the league was good, I decided I’m not going to write about them. I’ll save that for others. I’m even going to take my expansion-team-fan, rose-colored glasses off for this week.
As usual during the week after the last game, I read as much news and watched as much video as possible about the San Jose Earthquakes and MLS in general. Because it was a home game, centerlinesoccer.com featured several home grown videos including one from Nick Garcia. I took notice of a couple of statements he made: ".our twelfth man out there is going to help us a lot here down the road.I want to encourage all the fans to get out there and make as much noise and heckle the other team as much as they can."
I’d make some noise alright. And maybe I’ll try some heckling. Heck, Nick Garcia said so. And so as not to make my father-in-law who I brought to this game feel uncomfortable, I told him that Nick Garcia said so and it was our simply my duty as a die-hard fan.
So there I was settling into my seat just before the game thinking about how I was going to step it up for my team. Prior to this game I was a little disappointed that my location in the stands for the season was close to the opponent’s bench and not our own. However, now that I have a new purpose in heckling, I thought hey this location might be pretty good.
The Columbus Crew took the field and so I looked around to see who I should heckle first. I must mention however that I wasn’t just going to sit there and heckle the other team all game. Though that may be an effective approach, I didn’t want to annoy to all my section 103 compatriots. So I thought I’d pick one or two guys and try my hand at it a couple of times during the game.
As I looked around I thought, boy this is a pretty good team and I actually like a lot of these players. There’s USA national team legend and fellow Californian Frankie Hejduk, there’s the mercurial winner of all things silver, Argentine Guillermo Barros Schelotto, and nice guy former Quake big little bull dog Alejandro Moreno. And though he’s also a former Quake, I decided I’d say a few words to Danny O’Rourke. My reasoning was that he’d made lots of mistakes so far this season so perhaps he’d be a good target.
So here goes. At about the 30th minute, I cried out: "O’Rourke you suck!".
Then at about the 43rd minute, the Quakes scored. OK good.
Midway through the second half, I decided to single out Robbie Rogers as the guy I’d heckle.
At about the 70th minute I yelled, "Rogers you suck!" Not long after, he went on to single handedly spank the Quakes with two goals within about ten minutes. Ouch, that sucked. Which brings me to the point of this story: Don’t heckle Robbie Rogers.
Why did it have to be Rogers of all guys? And since when did he become the most clinical of finishers in the league?
Then another goal by Brad Evans and the Quakes were sunk. What happened to the defense? What happened to the advantage of having the twelfth man? What’s happened to Joe Cannon since Colorado?
I don’t have the answers. I do know that we Earthquakes fans experienced yet another way to come away with a big L.