Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Comeback Crew does it again to quench Fire
by Ridge Mahoney, November 14th, 2008 7:01AM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS SEMIFINAL] The team that launched the second era of Major League Soccer is headed to its first MLS Cup. In a raucous Columbus Crew Stadium, which when unveiled in 1999 set off a succession of soccer-specific facilities that have redefined the league's existence, the home team erased a 1-0 Chicago lead for a 2-1 win that secured a spot in the championship game Nov. 23.

Chad Marshall and Eddie Gaven scored six minutes apart early in the second half to erase a deficit inflicted by a header from ex-Crew forward Brian McBride, and Columbus held that 2-1 lead for 35 minutes with tough tackling and a pair of good saves from keeper Will Hesmer.

Four times during the regular season the Crew had surrendered the first goal yet rallied to win, a mark unmatched by any other MLS team. By stepping up its pressure in the offensive half of the field it won a free kick that Guillermo Barros Schelotto floated for Marshall to head home, and triggered a mixup among Fire defenders that Columbus exploited when Eddie Gaven collected a knockdown from Alejandro Moreno and drilled a shot that skipped inside the far post.

Chicago, unfazed by a loud, rabid crowd swathed in black and gold, unbalanced Columbus in the first half by cohesive defending and consistent possession. Hesmer saved a shot from Justin Mapp as the Crew scrapped their way back into the game, and midway through the half Marshall headed a chance wide and Schelotto clipped the top of the crossbar with a free kick.

Chicago scored in the 29th minute with the Crew defense reforming and right back Frankie Hejduk appealing to referee Terry Vaughn after being knocked down by Cuauhtemoc Blanco as they vied for the ball. Blanco tossed a barely legal throw-in up the left side for Mapp to float a superb first-time cross that McBride soared over Danny O'Rourke to glance into the net.

The goal silenced Crew fans, many of whom had taunted McBride -- the heart and soul of the franchise during its first eight seasons -- with chants of "Traitor!" A small section of Fire fans celebrated wildly and set off red flares that spread smoke throughout the stadium and cast yet another dramatic element onto a memorable scene.

Columbus ended the half a goal down, but came out for the second half more pumped up than perhaps Chicago thought possible. Gaven won a free kick on the right side in the 49th minute and Schelotto's swerving ball curved for Marshall to nod firmly past Fire keeper Jon Busch, another ex-Crew player who had been Marshall's roommate when they played together.

Chicago tried to stabilize the match and regain some rhythm, but with Chris Rolfe stymied and Blanco off his game, it couldn't keep the ball long enough. Brian Carroll controlled central midfield and with Robbie Rogers and Gaven, especially, tracking back, Columbus controlled the flanks.

Gaven got his reward for an excellent all-around display in the 55th minute. Schelotto returned a pass from Moreno, and Moreno headed down a ball for Gaven to run onto, touch once, and hit on the bounce past Busch. A deafening roar greeted the goal, the Crew bench erupted in celebration, and scenes of near-delirium envisioned by the late Lamar Hunt, who spearheaded construction of the stadium, ensued everywhere except for a tiny section of fans in red.

Busch deflected a hard shot from Rogers to keep Chicago in the game. Hesmer smothered a close-range re-direction from McBride with 17 minutes left, and in the final minute of regulation substitute Marco Pappa, fresh off the bench, fired a low shot Hesmer covered cleanly. In stoppage-time, Pappa found a shot again but fired it wide.

On four previous occasions the Crew had played for the conference title, and always it had fallen short. The final whistle triggered a frenzied celebration on the field and bedlam in the stands. What was once billed as "America's Hardest-Working Team" had taken one more step toward being honored as the best.

MLS SEMIFINAL
Nov. 12 in Columbus, Ohio
Columbus 2 Chicago 1.
Goals: Marshall (Schelotto) 49, Gaven (Moreno, Schelotto) 55; McBride (Mapp) 30.
Columbus -- Hesmer, Hejduk, Padula, Marshall, O'Rourke, Gaven (Ito, 88), Carroll, Evans, Rogers, Schelotto (Ekpo, 81), Moreno.
Chicago -- Busch, Prideaux (Nyarko, 70), Conde, Segares (Banner, 79), Soumare, Rolfe (Pappa, 90), Pause, Thorrington, Mapp, F- Blanco, McBride.
Yellow cards - Columbus -- O'Rourke 55, Hesmer 90+; Chicago --Soumare 22, Seagares 48, Prideaux 67.
Att.: 14,688

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Soccer America Power Rankings    
[MLS: Week 32] A classic encounter left the LA Galaxy, No. 1 in the Soccer America ...
Guardiola is happy to be back in Rome    
[UCL: Three Games to Watch] Two matches involving former champions, plus Pep Guardiola's return to Roma ...
Klingenberg golazo highlights another easy U.S. win    
[CONCACAF WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP] The USA cruised into the semifinals of the Concacaf Women's Championship with its ...
Concacaf Women's Championship Scoreboard    
[ROUNDUP: Saturday] Trinidad & Tobago beat Guatemala, 2-1, on late goals by Kennya Cordner of the ...
Agudelo trial at Wolves ends    
[AMERICANS ABROAD] Juan Agudelo's search for a club continues as English League Championship club Wolves passed ...
MLS clubs in position to outdo Mexican rivals    
[CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE] The group stage of the Concacaf Champions League concludes with Week 6 with ...
What They're Saying: India Premier League    
"Heaven has gained a defensive midfielder; apart from the hard tackles and the breaking up of ...
Bielsa sits on cup of coffee    
[VIDEO PICK: Off the Post] Not everything is going right for Marseille's coach Marcelo Bielsa, whose ...
U.S. under-14 girls national team roster    
[CARSON CAMP] Head coach April Kater has called up 35 players (with one more to be ...
What They Saying: Emilie Jacquot    
"It is unanimously positive. The FIFA scandal had an excellent impact on our brand awareness." -- ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives