Columbus, Ohio (April 24, 2019) — A massive mid-week game as the Columbus Crew SC hosted D.C. United with a spot at the top of the Eastern Conference on the line. Last time these two met Columbus knocked D.C. United out of the playoffs. However, Ben Olsen’s men came to the MAPFRE Stadium unbeaten in their first three away matches.
Wayne Rooney Goal Leads D.C. United To Victory
Columbus lived up to the occasion serving an incredible big game atmosphere. The Crew matched the crowd’s performance with high pressing in the opposition half with great effect forcing D.C. to turn the ball over often. In possession energetic off the ball movement helped them control the game. However, the black-and-red had the exact opposite start. United didn’t press in the opposition half and struggled to keep possession often not being able to create numerical advantages.
Ben Olsen was left frustrated on the sidelines however everything would change for his men in the 26th minute. Wayne Rooney and Arriola combined at the top of the box which lead to a foul by Josh-Williams.
So, who else to step up for D.C. than their main man? Wayne Rooney who came into the game without a goal in the month of April bended the free kick to the left of Zack Steffen and gave D.C. United the lead. After the Crew fell behind, D.C. felt a wave of momentum. They possessed the ball better, playing at a higher tempo and slicing through pressure easily.
However, the end of the first half was not all smooth sailing. In the 37th minute Fedrico Higuain’s shot was cleared off the line by highly acclaimed USMNT talent Chris Durkin. Durkin making his third-consecutive start.
As the second half went on, D.C. retreated further and further into their half. Caleb Porter’s Crew continued their patient build up play through out the half. Pedro Santos specifically found himself in loads of space down United’s left hand side. However, Santos despite large quantity of opportunities to make something happen could not change the game. Gyasi Zardes’ first and only touch in the D.C. penalty box came in the 86th minute. It summed up his and the Crew’s night as they fell to D.C. United at home.
AMAZING FREEKICK FROM WAZZA! @WayneRooney
1-0 DCU!#DCU pic.twitter.com/EMNxVgmYBE
— D.C. United (@dcunited) April 25, 2019
- Is D.C. the Real Deal? D.C. United’s first victory at the MAPFRE Stadium since 2007. This is now makes D.C. United unbeaten in their first four away games and puts them top of the Eastern Conference. After being knocked out in the first round of the playoffs last season D.C. have put together an impressive start to the 2019 season.
- Worrying times for The Crew: Across the last three games, Columbus has scored one goal and conceded five losing all of them. Caleb Porter certainly has work to do specifically going forward as the Crew will need to start scoring goals. This is Zardes’ longest run without a goal since joining the Columbus club of four games.
- May Fourth: Both these teams will meet again shortly on May 4 at Audi Field in Washington. Both teams have a game in between this. It will be interesting to see how D.C. will play against Columbus at home where they will see more of the ball and be forced to break down Columbus more rather than hitting them in transition. I expect the Crew to be fired up for the rematch.