MLS Focus: The two sides to Columbus Crew SC on display

There was good news and bad news in Columbus, where a cloud of uncertainty hangs over Crew SC, whose owner continues to pursue its options in Austin.

The good news was that Crew SC remained unbeaten, joining New York City FC as the only MLS teams with 10 points after Week 4 thanks to a 3-1 win over D.C. United.

The bad news: Saturday's game drew an announced crowd of only 8,443 fans, the smallest crowd for an MLS game at Mapfre Stadium since Precourt Sports Ventures bought the team in 2013.

MLS Unbeaten Teams:
1. Columbus
2. NYCFC 3-0-1
3. LAFC 2-0-0
4. FC Dallas 1-0-2
5. Philadelphia 1-0-1

The Crew not only remained unbeaten with its victory over D.C. United, it won with the first turnover in its starting lineup, necessitated by the absence of keeper Zak Steffen and captain Wil Trapp, who are with the U.S. national team preparing for Tuesday's friendly against Paraguay.

The Crew showed off its depth as all three goalscorers scored their first goals of the season. Ricardo Clark, starting in place of Trapp, scored his first goal since moving to Columbus as an MLS free agent, and Milton Valenzuela, a 19-year-old Argentine defender, and Pedro Santos scored off passes from young Panamanian Cristian Martinez. Through the first three games, Gyasi Zardes and Federico Higuain had combined for all three goals.

"The way we play, we don’t care who scores," said Crew coach Gregg Berhalter. "We just want the ball in the back of the net. Every time the ball hits the back of the net, it’s a good feeling that we have. The guys work hard to generate goal-scoring opportunities. So whoever scores, we’ll take it."

The insertion of Clark and Kempin in the lineup marked the first changes after Berhalter started the same team for the first three games.

"Ricardo is a very important player for us," said Higuain, whose assist on Clark's goal was the 50th of his MLS career. "He gives us experience. He is a warrior in the middle. We are happy for him because we miss an important piece in our system like Wil. And I think he did very well so I am happy for Ricardo and happy for Jon.

Berhalter said the 24-year-old Kempin, who has only started 15 games in nine MLS seasons, was excellent.

"He did everything we asked him to do in this game," he said. "For him, he’s going to gain confidence with this performance. I thought he commanded his penalty box well. The goal, he couldn’t have done anything about."

4 comments about "MLS Focus: The two sides to Columbus Crew SC on display".
  1. Wallace Wade, March 25, 2018 at 11:17 a.m.

    Here’s hoping they win the whole damn thing!

  2. beautiful game, March 25, 2018 at 11:31 a.m.

    Crew need new ownership and a new stadium. Columbus and area supporters deserve it.

  3. frank schoon, March 25, 2018 at 12:13 p.m.

    Watched a little bit of the game against DC United. They have a couple of decent players from South America that could definitely even help out DC.  It is a shame to see the Columbus team move away, for I think Columbus deserves to have a team. It would be a total waste after all these years in having created a MLS fan base support to just get up and leave....
    I like their yellow uniforms for it stands out. I think the league should ban any teams wearing green or black (unless striped like Celtics, Newcastle ). I just don't understand why a team wears green jerseys when playing on green field. Teams should wear colors that contrast the field they play on.

  4. Matt Cardillo, March 26, 2018 at 9:40 a.m.

    Kempin's been in the league for 9 seasons? started when he was 15?

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