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Recap: Arrieta bags brace as Crew hold off Sporting 2-1

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – It didn’t take Jairo Arrieta long to make an impact with the Columbus Crew – and to extend Sporting Kansas City’s home woes.

Arrieta, who joined the Crew at midseason from Costa Rican club Deportivo Saprissa, scored his first two MLS goals to lead Columbus to a 2-1 victory on Saturday night at Livestrong Sporting Park.

Columbus (8-7-4) won their second straight and denied Sporting (11-7-4) a chance to retake the Eastern Conference lead from New York. Sporting haven’t won at home in four tries since beating Toronto FC 2-0 on June 16.

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Sporting went up 1-0 on Kei Kamara’s goal in the eighth minute, but Arrieta struck in the 17th and 34th minutes to give the visitors – who fell 2-0 at home to Sporting when the two sides met on July 14 – a 2-1 halftime lead.

The home side opened the scoring on a textbook set piece. Graham Zusi sent in a long free kick, and Kamara leaped and headed it past Andy Gruenebaum for his eighth goal of the season.

But the Crew equalized through their new arrival after a nice through ball from Josh Williams. Arrieta took the pass in the penalty area, shrugged off Lawrence Olum’s attempted tackle and fired past Jimmy Nielsen from 12 yards.

Then in the 34th minute, Arrieta corralled Zusi’s errant back pass in space in Columbus’ attacking third and sent a blast in from distance to make it 2-1.

That was all the offense the Crew needed, as Sporting came up empty on one chance after another in the second half.

OPTA Chalkboard: Sporting mount furious second-half charge

In the 51st minute, Gruenebaum deflected Zusi’s shot into the crossbar and Teal Bunbury hit the rebound wide left. Then, four minutes later, Gruenebaum – who finished with five saves – stoned Bunbury twice on a one-on-one breakaway.

Kamara also hit the crossbar in the 65th minute with a header off a throw-in just after Matt Besler ran onto a corner kick and pushed it just outside the right post.

Columbus’ Cole Grossman was issued a straight red card in second-half stoppage time for a hard foul on Zusi. Sporting almost made the man advantage pay off when Kamara corralled a bouncing ball at short range in the 97th minute, but he shot wide right.

Both teams return to action on Aug. 4, when Sporting KC travel to New England and Columbus head to D.C.

MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match

Rank Player What We Saw
1 Jairo Arrieta Costa Rican was monstrous with first MLS goals, especially his second, a laser off Zusi's bad pass.
2 Andy Gruenebaum How did Hebrew Hammer react to his All-Star snub? With five excellent saves to preserve victory.
3 Kei Kamara SKC's leading scorer added another with a beautiful header, and abused Chad Marshall all night.