Sunday, April 13, 2008

Ex-QPRs in the MLS This Weekend: Padula's Columbus Debut

Crew survive Chivas comeback - Columbus withstands late rally to earn home victory By Nathan Linton / Staff

COLUMBUS -- After seeing Chivas USA storm back from a two-goal deficit late in the second half, Robbie Rogers' second goal of the game gave the Columbus Crew a wild 4-3 victory against Chivas USA at a cold Crew Stadium on Saturday night.
A 2-1 Crew lead at halftime exploded over the final 20 minutes when Rogers doubled the lead. But Jesse Marsch scored barely a minute later, then Paulo Nagamura tied the game, before Rogers whistled a drive from well outside the area through Brad Guzan's hands in the Chivas goal for the game-winner.

Chivas finished the game with nine men after Marsch and Francisco Mendoza were sent off right after the fourth Crew goal.

Chivas started the game with a couple of key components of their attack, as forwards Ante Razov and Alecko Eskandarian did not make the trip to Columbus due to injury.

Still, Chivas nearly struck first in the 12th minute when a bouncing through ball split the center of the Crew defense. Rookie Keith Savage, making his professional debut, ran on to the ball and would have likely netted his first MLS goal had Crew 'keeper Will Hesmer not charged out of the net and deflected the shot out of bounds.

Lighting problems delayed the game minutes later when several banks of the stadium lights went out, leaving the north end of the field much darker than the south, but after a brief conference both teams decided to continue play.

After the delay Chivas had another good opportunity on goal when Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven received a yellow card for a harsh tackle 25 yards from goal. The Chivas restart was headed back out of the box but defender Jonathan Bornstein hit a lob from 20 yards -- nearly catching Hesmer off his line, overshooting the goal by inches.

In the 25th minute the Crew drew first blood. Rogers raced down the left wing and sent a rolling cross into the middle of the box. Chivas defender Jim Curtin was tracking back to cover Alejandro Moreno and when the two collided referee Ricardo Salazar blew his whistle and pointed to the penalty spot. Guillermo Barros Schelotto stepped to the spot and drove the ball up the center of the goal past a diving Guzan.

The lead didn't last long however. Bornstein played the ball to Savage's feet 25 yards from goal, and the rookie turned and laid the ball off to a streaking Kljestan. He hit a curling shot that rocketed off his foot and never strayed off course, finding the upper right corner of the Crew goal.

Yet only two minutes later the Crew again took the lead. On the counterattack after a pass was broken up in midfield by Brian Carroll, Moreno played the ball into space ahead of Schelotto. Schelotto held the ball for a moment and as Guzan came out of his net, the Argentinean rolled a pass to his left where Moreno had continued his run. He kept his shot low and hard, finding the back of the net for the second time this year for a 2-1 lead in the 35th minute.

After the break, the Crew began to pile on the pressure, and in the 63rd minute nearly struck again. From some 25 yards straight out from goal, Adam Moffat hit a knuckling blast that never rose more than a foot off the ground, but was aimed dead center at the Chivas goal. Guzan seemed to be caught off guard, able only to kick out the shot at the last instant with his left leg.

Columbus finally broke through in the 71st minute. After Rogers made a hustling save to keep the ball inbounds and maintain possession for the Crew he was rewarded. Schelotto found Rogers racing down the left side, barely beating the offside trap. Rogers controlled the ball before slipping it inside Guzan and the near post for a 3-1 Crew lead.

Before Columbus could even finish celebrating the goal Chivas had answered. The Red-and-White beat a Columbus attempt at an offside trap when Paulo Nagumura split the Crew defense and put a pass right into the path of Jesse Marsch, who raced in alone on Hesmer and slotted it home.

Chivas then drew even in the 78th minute. Kljestan slipped the ball square to Nagamura outside the top of the arc, and the Brazilian hit a left-footed curling ball that again beat Hesmer as he dove to his right, flying into the upper corner of the net.

But the Crew took just four minutes to respond yet again. Danny O'Rourke sent a long ball out of the Crew half over a Chivas defender, directly to the chest of Rogers. Again he let fly from long range and the ball sailed right through the hands of Guzan though it was hit almost directly at him and the Crew were in the lead for the third time on the night.

Things got a bit chippy after that however. Mendoza committed a harsh foul right in front of referee Salazar, who immediately reached into his pocket and sent off the Chivas midfielder with a second caution in the game.

Immediately after the restart Kljestan committed another hard foul, and this time Salazar showed a straight red card for the tackle.

This time the way back was too far for Chivas, and for the first time ever Columbus had defeated the 2005 expansion team on their home field.

Nathan Linton is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs...
Chivas USA -- Brad Guzan, Chris Pozniak (Eric Ebert 64), Jim Curtin, Shavar Thomas, Jonathan Bornstein, Sacha Kljestan, Jesse Marsch, Paulo Nagamura, Francisco Mendoza, Keith Savage (Maykel Galindo 46), Atiba Harris (Justin Braun 60).
Substitutes Not Used: Anthony Hamilton, Daniel Paladini, Lance Parker, Claudio Suarez

Columbus Crew -- Will Hesmer, Frankie Hejduk, Chad Marshall, Danny O'Rourke, Gino Padula, Robbie Rogers, Brian Carroll, Adam Moffat (Stefani Miglioranzi 88), Eddie Gaven (Ezra Hendrickson 92+), Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Alejandro Moreno.
Substitutes Not Used: Brad Evans, Andy Gruenebaum, Nicolas Hernandez, Andy Iro, Guilherme So - Columbus/MLS

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