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Crew rallies to down struggling San Jose
by Ridge Mahoney, May 28th, 2009 11:10AM
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[MLS] For once, Crew fans didn't have to sweat as much after their team took a second-half lead. Five times this season Columbus has conceded a goal in the last 10 minutes, and when Guillermo Barros Schelotto scored Wednesday to break a 1-1 tie, there were still 44 minutes and 32 seconds, plus stoppage time, still to be played. But the opponent this night was San Jose, and despite its desperate plight and the entry of recently signed striker Cornell Glen with 20 minutes to play, the Quakes seldom mustered a serious threat.

By winning, 2-1, with goals by Schelotto and Eddie Gaven, the defending champ Crew raised its record to 2-2-6 (12 points) and rose out of a last-place tie with New York in the Eastern Conference. San Jose's defeat, despite Ryan Johnson's fifth goal of 2009, dropped its record to 1-7-2 and left it a point behind FC Dallas in the Western basement.

The Quakes managed to score first midway through the first half, though the goal came after Quincy Amarikwa apparently used his upper arm to graze a cross from Eric Denton into the path of Johnson, who stabbed it into the net from close range.

Gaven equalized five minutes later when the Quakes, which conceded all three goals in a 3-1 loss to Houston last week on set plays, failed to deal with a Gino Padula corner kick. Eric Brunner nodded it back from the far post to an unmarked Gaven, who didn't even need to jump while heading the ball past Joe Cannon from point-blank range.

Straight from the second-half kickoff, the Quakes again fell victim to poor marking. Alejandro Moreno jumped to keep a ball in play and headed it up the right wing to Emmanuel Ekpo, who glided inside and centered a low ball that a sprinting Schelotto slid to redirect past Cannon.

Its two goals were the only two shots on frame the Crew generated out of its 11 total attempts at goal, so Cannon was not credited with a save. Crew keeper Andy Gruenebaum finished with two saves.

Defending MLS Cup champion Columbus ran its home unbeaten record to 16 games, dating back to a 2-0 defeat inflicted by San Jose last June. That was also the Quakes' last road win; in 14 matches played since then, they are 0-9-5. The Crew is unbeaten in its last six games and has won two of the last three. San Jose lost its fifth straight and has been outscored, 21-10, on the season.

Both teams are back in action Saturday. Columbus heads to Seattle for a reunion with former Crew head coach Sigi Schmid. San Jose hosts Real Salt Lake for their first meeting of 2009.

May 27 in Columbus
Columbus 2, San Jose 1

Goals: Gaven (Brunner, Padula) 28, Schelotto (Ekpo, Moreno) 46; Johnson (Amarikwa, Denton) 23.
Columbus - Gruenebaum; Zayner, Brunner, Marshall, Padula, Ekpo (Lenhart, 58), Carroll (Burns, 69), Gaven, Rogers, Schelotto, Moreno.
San Jose - Cannon; Gray, Garcia, Hernandez, Denton (Glen, 68), Salinas (Alvarez, 75), Corrales, Elliott, Convey, Amarikwa (Weaver, 83), Johnson.
Referee: Abby Okulaja
Att.: 8,793.


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