In the first game of the post-Kei Kamara era, the Columbus Crew earned a hard-fought point against a Western Conference contender.
Following Thursday’s blockbuster trade, the Crew earned a home draw against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night. The result sees the Rapids extend their unbeaten run to seven straight games, while the Crew earned their second draw in as many games.
While forward Ola Kamara started in place of the now-New England Revolution winger, a Crew winger provided his first goal of the season to start the scoring in the 23rd minute. After gliding past several defenders down the left side, Cedrick Mabwati’s shot from the center of the box was blocked away by the Rapids defense. The ensuing rebound fell to Harrison Afful, who squared a pass back to Mabwati for the first-time finish.
Just 10 minutes into the second half, the Rapids found their equalizer via a set piece. Taking full advantage of their size advantage as well as an early knock to Michael Parkhurst, Rapids forward Kevin Doyle rose above the Crew defense to head home a corner kick to level the scoreline.
Doyle proved dangerous in the moments following his goal, forcing a save from Steve Clark in the 73rd minute. The Crew goalkeeper parried the ensuing rebound for one of his five saves on the evening, enough to lead the Crew to a 1-1 draw.
The Crew, who now sit on 10 points through as many games, visit Toronto FC next Saturday, while the Rapids will look to continue to set the pace out West against the Seattle Sounders.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Cedrick Mabwati was a menace throughout Saturday’s match, and deservedly got a goal after torching the Rapids defense. Still far from the first name on the team sheet, the winger gave head coach Gregg Berhalter some major evidence that he is deserving of more time going forward.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Kevin Doyle took full advantage of a vital set piece opportunity to earn his side a road point. The longstanding belief is that MLS contenders win at home and draw on the road, and Doyle’s goal helped the Rapids do exactly that at an energized MAPFRE Stadium.
MATCH TO FORGET
Swapped to the right winger position, Justin Meram struggled to find a rhythm throughout his 79 minutes of action. The Iraqi international misplaced 12 of 31 passes on the day and never truly got going on an unfamiliar side of the field.