Crew ruin Chivas USA's homecoming
The last-place Columbus Crew kept their playoff hopes alive with a 3-0 win over Chivas USA at The Home Depot Center on Saturday.
Cornell Glen scored midway through the first half and set up John Wolyniec on one of his two goals in a 10-minute span in the second half to help the Crew cruise past Chivas in the first-ever meeting between the clubs.
With the win, the Crew (9-12-3) move within 9 points of the Chicago Fire for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Crew, who have been revitalized in the second half of the season, are now 6-3-1 under interim coach Robert Warzycha and have won three in a row, all shutouts.
The match got off to a slow start as both sides struggled to develop any meaningful plays.
The Crew tested new Chivas goalkeeper Sergio Garcia for the first time in the 15th minute; a low, 25-yard shot by Glen that went directly to the 'keeper, starting in net in place of Brad Guzan.
In the 19th minute, Glen again tried Garcia, this time nearly hitting
paydirt. Simon Elliott sent a crossing ball from the right side to Glen. The Trinidad international then sent a crushing header to the near post and Garcia just got a hand on the ball, knocking it out of play for a corner kick.
On the ensuing corner, Glen again got a head on the ball in the center of the area, but his shot went well over the crossbar.
Chris Henderson nearly caught the Chivas 'keeper off guard in the 30th minute. Danny Szetela controlled the ball 30 yards from goal and gave a quick pass to Henderson, standing to his right. Henderson's low, one-time shot, though, was knocked away by a diving Garcia.
In the 34th minute, Glen finally broke through, capitalizing on a grave mistake by Chivas USA in their own third of the field.
A poor ball sent towards Chivas defender Ezra Hendrickson instead landed directly at Glen's feet. He alluded Hendrickson, raced 20 yards to the top of the box and shot through the legs of oncoming 'keeper Garcia and into the
right netting for his fourth goal of the season.
The goal roused Chivas' mostly dormant attack as crew goalkeeper Jonny Walker was forced to make one close-range save in the 37th minute and moments later saw a Francisco Palencia shot roll just wide of net.
Coming out of the halftime break, the Crew's defense buckled down and did a good job of absorbing the Chivas attack.
Chad Marshall was effective in shutting down Chivas' speeder winger Antonio Martinez on the right side, using his size and deceptive speed to frustrate Martinez.
Robin Fraser was solid manning the center of the defense, constantly putting a body on Palencia and rendering the Mexican national largely ineffective.
The Crew took a 2-0 lead on the hour mark. This time Glen was on the giving end, sending a low pass to the center of the area to an unmarked Wolyniec, who quickly hit a low shot past Garcia. The Chivas 'keeper dove but was unable to get a hand on the ball.
In the 69th minute, Wolyniec struck again. Glen again was the catalyst as his shot just inside of the area was kick-saved by Garcia, who was playing well off his line. The ball deflected to Wolyniec and he blasted it into the
goal for his second goal of the match and fifth of the season.
The Crew kept Chivas' defense on its heels for the remainder of the match, forcing Garcia to make several saves in the final 10 minutes.
MLSnet.com Man of the Match: Cornell Glen, Columbus Crew
Danny Bueno is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.