COLUMBUS, Ohio - With Edson Buddle out due to tendonitis in his left Achilles, the Columbus Crew have turned to Knox Cameron as the point man in their three-pronged attack for the last 2 1/2 matches.
Cameron earned his first MLS assist in the waning moments of Wednesday's 1-0 win against the MetroStars and that momentum carried through to Saturday's 2-0 victory against the Kansas City Wizards, when he scored both goals of the game on either side of halftime.
"When I got the first one, I felt a little lightheaded. It was surreal," said the rookie forward. "It was good to get it out of the way."
The first one came with only a few ticks of the clock remaining in the first half. He added his second less than 60 seconds into the second half.
"He had worked very hard since the beginning of the season," said interim coach Robert Warzycha, who remained undefeated at the helm. "Right now, he is on the top of his game."
In addition to time proximity, the two goals had a lot of similarities in terms of approach. On both goals, Simon Elliott set up Kyle Martino with space of the flank and Martino's good crosses translated into scoring chances for the Crew forward.
"The first was just Kyle doing what we does best on the wing. He made a great cross. I made a near post run," said Cameron. "The ball went to the back post and I was able to adjust my run. The ball was right in front of the goal. It was so wide open.
"On the second one, Kyle again did a great job in beating his guy," he said. "I was able to get near post in front of my man and tuck it away."
Added Warzycha: "The first goal was all him (Martino). He went after the ball knowing that he could get injured. His performance was very good today."
Martino, the playmaker on both goals, was thankful to Elliott for his distribution skills.
"Simon has unbelievable service and has a good understanding of runs," said Martino. "It is great to have a midfielder who is going to get you isolation and little bit of space that you don't have to do on your own."
After playing in the middle of the park for much of his career, Martino has been moved towards the flank under Warzycha.
"Too often, you slip away from one guy and then get double-teamed. It is too hard to get isolated one-on-one," said Martino on the difficulties in the center of the field. "He [Warzycha] wanted me to be a little more dangerous out wide, take people one-on-one, get crosses in, and try to get chances that way."
While the Crew seemed destined for the win following Cameron's barrage on goal, they struggled to contain the Wizards early in the match.
"To be honest, I wasn't happy about the first half. It looked like we were slower than Kansas City," said Warzycha. "They moved the ball pretty well and moved better without the ball. It caused us some problems in the beginning, especially [Chris] Klein and Sasha Victorine."
However, the Wizards rarely threatened once falling behind by the two-goal deficit.
"It was a fantastic performance by the defense. In the last two games, I have had very little to do which is much better than in the Chicago game," said Crew netminder Jonny Walker. "We understand each other much better with each game.
"They were coming in waves and [we] gave them nothing."
The recently acquired Walker has two consecutive shutout wins at home following a stretch that the Crew only earned one point in his first three matches with the squad.
"We are tremendously pleased with the six points at home in front our fans," said Walker.
The true test for the Crew will come following the MLS All-Star Game, in which five or their first six matches are away.
John Kuhn is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.