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Crew topples RSL with late rally

CrewRSL (Getty) 


The Columbus Crew has made a habit of giving up early goals, but on Wednesday night, the Crew also continued a recent trend of delivering late-game heroics.

Down 1-0 to Real Salt Lake late in the second half, Columbus rallied with two late goals, including a deflected game-winner from Josh Gardner to post a 2-1 victory at Crew Stadium on Wednesday night.

Jamison Olave gave Real Salt Lake an early lead with a seventh-minute goal, but RSL never could get going offensively and let Columbus stay in and eventually take over the match in the second half.

Olave helped the Crew equalize when he tripped up Crew rookie Justin Meram in the penalty area. Andres Mendoza converted the penalty ti tie the match.

Josh Gardner nailed the game-winner in the 82nd minute when he blasted a long-range shot that deflected off Chris Schuler before beating Nick Rimando.

Here are the match highlights.

What did you think of the Crew's victory? Starting to wonder if Real Salt Lake is still a title contender? Starting to believe Columbus is for real?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Not sure it’s good form to copy and paste this extended excerpt from “Covering the Crew” blog without any props, but you have to love Cunningham’s take on Mendoza’s insistence on taking the PK: “It’s like a child — sometimes they want to do something and you just have to let them.” Not sure those words would go over well in the clubhouse … if Mendoza knew English.

  2. I’m not saying it WASN’T a penalty, I would’ve called it too. Just saying it was on the weaker side of things and that Meram sealed the deal like the great forwards do is all. I probably should have clarified…

  3. Jeff C…Model MLSer…

    Asked about the record, Cunningham said, “The year I won the Golden Boot, two years ago, the second goal I believe was July 3 – and I scored 16 after that. Experience has taught me patience. They’re coming. There’s no pressure. I’m happy with the win. I’m happy for Mendoza. That’s what we need to do at home, is get three points.”

    Cunningham expanded: “Usually I’m one and Mendoza’s two. But he felt very confident he’d score and sometimes you have to lead by example and be a servant. It’s like a child – sometimes they want to do something and you just have to let them. No hard feelings. It’s good for him. That goal is probably more important the club than it is for me.”

    Cunningham smiled, and went on: “Let me tell you something. As a forward, you need confidence. He has been under a lot of pressure and it’s important that the team rally around him, the organization, the fans. That’s the way you get the most out of strikers. We are emotional. We have soft skin sometimes. So, it’s important for us to be supportive of him and encourage him. I’m happy he stepped up he’s confident enough and stepped up and scored.”

    More Cunningham: “At that point, he made the decision to take a PK and the last thing you want to do is put doubts in his mind. That goal will do (well) for his confidence. We need him. We need him to be a DP on this team and a top player in the league. We put trust and faith in him and he stepped up and accepted the responsibility.”

    As for the boos aimed at Mendoza, Cunningham said: “The fans – it’s an emotional thing for them, as well. They want it for me. They’ve seen me here since I was 21 and a pup running around here. I think it was a situation here against Salt Lake where they felt like that was the moment. But like I say, it’s a long season ahead of us and that goal is more important for Mendoza and this organization. As teammates and as club, the fans need to support him, especially him, because we’re going to need him to carry the team offensively. He needs that love from us and we need to be more supportive of him.

  4. Any time you lose a player like Morales, no matter how deep your team is, its going to be tough to be a title contender.

  5. To be sure, Olave left his foot into that challenge, even after he’s been beaten, Meram, as any top striker knows to do, leaves his trailing foot to drag across Olave’s foot, and then goes down. It’s a classic dive, and it’s also a penalty everywhere in the world.

    What I really take from tis is that Meram is getting a chance and is taking it by the scruff. He’s going to be a good one. There are a lot of young strikers mentioned in the conversation for top Americans and Americans-to-be (Agudelo, Bunbury, Mwanga and Bruin), and Meram’s name will soon be in that conversation.

    One other takeaway — Tony Beltran is another who is starting to realize potential.

  6. lol guy is selfish, lol major head case…. This is one of those times that you probably should take character into consideration before the signing(character really?)…and he is sucking hard of late, def not DP talent….

    Either way I’ll watch more Columbus games just for the drama… If only Chad, Cunningham, or Gaven weren’t willing to take it on the chin…. Sometimes you just need to smack a dude, u know?

  7. As a Galaxy fan, I like seeing RSL drop points on their games-in-hand, but nevertheless feel bad for RSL that this recent swoon is likely caused by the cheap-shot on Morales. To be the best, you have to beat the best — and these days I feel that RSL has been unfairly impacted by dirty play.

  8. MLS refs get a lot of gruff, and deservedly so, but that’s about as clear-cut as a penalty can be.

    Meram made a great flick in with his right foot, and Olave was beat and clearly impeded Meram’s path. That’s a penalty. Even Olave knew he was beat.

    You don’t have to draw blood for a penalty.

  9. Who was Andres Mendoza telling to be quiet after he made the penalty kick and as he was subbed off? The fans or the coach?

    The announcers were saying that Cunningham was supposed to take the penalty, but Mendoza just ignored him and took it anyway.

    Seemed like there was some drama there…..

  10. Looked a pretty clear cut pk to me. You do not have to get much of someone’s foot to trip them up, especially when the defender is sticking out their foot. Olave did not seem to protest too much.

  11. The penalty was 10% contact 90% dive but Meram sold it excellently. I give the Crew credit, well done on the come from behind win. RSL isn’t full strength so I wouldn’t count them out of anything so early in the season.


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