The Columbus Crew lose a gutwrenching 2-1 game against the Seattle Sounders. The Crew held a 1-0 lead into the 88-minute in what felt like a season-defining win at home. The Western Conference leaders had other plans as they played spoiler in front of 19,000 plus fans Saturday night. The Columbus Crew lose at home causing vibes to reach critically low levels.
Rising to the occasion early
The Columbus Crew had a noticeable pep in their step out the gate Saturday night. The match was broadcast nationally on FOX, and it was a rematch of last year’s MLS Cup. A game Columbus won 3-0.
A lot has changed since then. The Crew has not met expectations this year so far. Seattle on the other hand is competing for a Supporter’s Shield. Even the most optimistic Crew fans could be forgiven for not expecting much tonight.
Instead, the Crew took every early punch from Seattle and even delivered a couple of counter shots of their own. Goalkeeper Eloy Room was as advertised as he kept three early shots on goal from the Sounders from finding the back of the net. The Nordeck was very appreciative of his effort and sang his praises loudly.
BWP comes through
Young striker Miguel Berry started the match for the Crew. Fans have clamored for the kid from California to get some minutes in light of Gyasi Zardes’ absence. Berry looked dynamic at times. Winning headers and holding up possession well. Without finding the back of the net, he influenced the attack.
— The Crew (@ColumbusCrew) August 21, 2021
Bradley Wright-Phillips was subbed on in the 57-minute for Berry. The MLS legend had not scored a goal in MLS play coming into the night. That changed in the 79-minute. The Zelarayan corner fell to his feet inches from the keeper. BWP kept his cool and sent the crowd into a frenzy. What a perfect night.
When things fall apart, they fall apart
10 minutes and stoppage time is all that was between The Crew and a season-changing victory. It was not to be. An 88-minute goal from Xaiver Arreaga tied it. Immediately off the restart, Seattle won the ball and Will Bruin ripped a rocket past Room sending the Sounders onto victory.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) August 21, 2021
The loss makes it six straight for Caleb Porter and the Crew. What was once supposed to be a season of trophies and excitement over a new stadium has turned dark. Injuries can play a role in the demise but a collapse of this nature at home on a national broadcast transcends circumstances.
The fans are noticeably restless. This season has not gone the way anyone would have thought, but the reality is starting to set in. This team is not built for any type of playoff run as it stands right now. Bez may still have some deals in him to try to bring in re-enforcements, but at some point, the players and coaches in the room have to right the ship.
The year is not completely lost. The Crew are just around the playoff line, a position most years they tend to occupy. 2021 was not supposed to be just any other year. The profanity-laced chants from the north end are getting harder and harder to tune out. A change of manager might seem unthinkable coming off a Cup win, but the owner’s box has higher expectations than battling it out for a playoff spot.